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THE  MESSAGE  OF 

SADHU   SUNDAR  SINGH 

A  STUDY  IN  MYSTICISM  ON 
PRACTICAL  RELIGION 


THE  MACMILLAN  COMPANY 

NBW  YORK    •    BOSTON  •   CHICAGO  -    DALLAS 
ATLANTA  •   SAN  FRANCISCO 

MACMILLAN  &  CO.,  LIMITED 

LONDON  •   BOMBAY  •   CALCUTTA 
MELBOURNE 

THE  MACMILLAN  CO    OF  CANADA,  LTD. 

TORONTO 


THE  MESSAGE  OF 
SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 


A  STUDY  IN  MYSTICISM  ON 
PRACTICAL  RELIGION 


BY 


B.  H.  STREETER,  M.A.  (OXON.),  HON.  D.D.  (£DIN.) 

FELLOW   OP   QUHHH  S   COLLEGE,    OXFORD;    CANON    RESIDENTIARY    OF    HEREFORD; 
EDITOR    OF    'FOUNDATIONS.'    'CONCERNING   PRAYER,'    'IMMORTALITY.' 

'TUB  spimrr.'  'GOD  AND  THB  STEUCGLB  FOR  EXISTENCE' 


AND 


A.  J.  APPASAMY,  B.A.  (MADRAS),  M.A.  (HARVARD) 
B.D.  (HARTFORD) 

J.  S.  WELLES.   FELLOW  OF  HA17FOIU>  THEOLOGICAL  SEMINARY 


Co','         '  i':«Wi 

I  5   f~~T .    M  ^  r>  Y    _-  f  t?  £  r.T 
TORONTO.  ONTAHIQ.  CANADA 


JI3eto  gorft 
THE  MACMILLAN  COMPANY 

1922 
All  rights  reserved. 


PRINTED  IN  THE  UNITED  STATES  OF  AMERICA 


COPYRIGHT,  1921. 
By  THE  MACMILLAN  COMPANY 

SlT  UP  AND  ELECTROTYPED,  PUBLISHED  APRIL,    1921. 


FERRIS 

PRINTING  COMPANY 
NEW   YORK   CITY 


CONTENTS 

PAGE 

INTRODUCTION vii 

I    THE  MAN  AND  His  MAKING 3 

In  Quest  of  Peace — Convert  and  Sadhu — The 
Achievement  of  Maturiiy — World  Fame. 

II    A  MYSTIC'S  CREED 40 

A  Christocentric  Mysticism — The  Trinity:  a 
Vision  —  The  Incarnation  —  The  Atonement  — 
Mystical  Union  with  Christ. 

III  A  MYSTIC'S  PEACE 56 

The  Peace  of  God— The  Philosophy  of  the  Cross 
—The  Dark  Night  of  the  Soul. 

IV  A  MYSTIC'S  WAY 67 

The  Mystic  and  the  Plain  Man— Renunciation 
and  Active  Service — The  Nature  of  Prayer — The 
Necessity  of  Prayer — Devotional  Habits— The  Be 
ginner's  Way. 

V    ECSTASY  AND  VISION 86 

Esoteric  Character— Visions  of  the  Jewish  Seers- 
Heaven— The  Resurrection  of  the  Body — The  Last 
Judgement — Hell — Other  Visions — The  Nature  of 
the  Ecstatic  State— An  Unique  Phenomenon— The 
Idea  and  its  Symbol — Divine  Guidance — The 
Authority  of  the  Church — The  Dangers  of  Ecstasy. 


vi  CONTENTS 

PAGE 

VI    SUFFERING,  SIN  AND  JUDGEMENT 124 

Karma— Suffering— Sin— Repentance— Judgement. 

VII    THE  HEART  AND  THE  HEAD 141 

A  Reaction  against  Intellectualism— The  Function 
of  Intellect— Vain  Enquiry— The  Moral  Obstacle- 
Knowledge  of  Christ. 

VIII    NATURE  AND  THE  BIBLE I50 

The  Book  of  Nature— The  Bible— Miracles. 

IX    TABLE  TALK 166 

The  Preacher— Life  and  Hope— Service— Religion 
— Providence — The  Hereafter. 

X    AN  INDIAN  CHRISTIANITY .176 

Christianity  and  National  Genius — Philosophic 
Pantheism— Yoga  and  Bhakti— The  Sadhu  Ideal- 
Money— Marriage— The  Christian)  Sadhu  and  the 
Future. 


INDEX  .     ..    >:    •;    -    a    a    •    £>:-•>  259 


INTRODUCTION 

BETWEEN  the  Mystics  of  any  past  age  and  ourselves 
there  is,  quite  apart  from  the  problem  of  the  mystic 
consciousness  itself,  a  barrier  of  time  and  circumstance 
which  no  effort  of  the  historic  imagination  cm  com 
pletely  penetrate.  In  this  book  we  attempt  a  study  of  a 
Mystic,  with  the  unique  advantage  that  he  is  a  contem 
porary  of  our  own. 

He  is  also  one  of  those  Mystics  who  appeals  to  the  pres 
ent  age  because  it  is  precisely  his  consciousness  of  com 
munion  with  the  Divine  that  impels  him  to  a  life  of  un 
selfish  activity  and  the  practical  service  of  mankind. 

Sadhu  Sundar  Singh— "  the  Sadhu"  as  he  is  popularly 
called— lives  in  this  twentieth  century  a  life  which,  so 
far  as  external  conditions  are  concerned,  resembles  that 
of  St.  Francis  of  Assisi.  His  inward  experience  recalls 
rather,  in  some  ways,  St.  Paul,  in  others  Mother  Juliana, 
while  in  others  it  is  individual  to  himself.  If,  however, 
we  venture  thus  to  speak  of  him  and  them  together,  it  is 
not  by  way  of  asserting  a  comparison  of  greatness ;  it  is 
merely  to  indicate  an  identity  of  type.  Whether  Sundar 
Singh  is  a  great  man  in  the  sense  in  which  History  em 
ploys  that  term,  History  alone  can  decide.  In  that 
sense  no  man  can  be  pronounced  great  till  his  career  is 
ended,  nor  even  then  by  his  own  contemporaries.  But 
while  we  do  not  suggest  that  the  Sadhu  is  on  the  same 
plane  with  St.  Francis  or  St.  Paul,  we  feel  that,  from 
having  known  him,  we  understand  them  better. 

The  Sadhu  is  no  metaphysician,  no  scientist,  no  higher 
critic.  Indeed  his  intellectual  horizon  is  in  many  re 
spects  nearer  that  of  the  New  Testament  writers  than  that 


Vll 


viii  INTRODUCTION 

of  the  modern  world — but  so  also  is  his  intuitive  insight 
into  moral  and  religious  values.  It  is  this  directness  and 
simplicity  of  spiritual  perception  which  impresses  upon 
all  who  have  been  in  close  contact  with  him  the  convic 
tion  that  he  has  a  message — not  only  to  his  own  country 
men,  but  also  to  the  West. 

The  manner  of  his  teaching,  even  more  than  its  sub 
stance,  has  a  peculiar  freshness  for  a  Western  hearer, 
with  its  picturesque  abundance  of  illustration  and  par 
able,  often  quaint  but  always  apt,  its  unstudied  spon 
taneity,  its  gleams  of  kindly  humor.  It  is  rendered 
doubly  effective  by  an  arresting  appearance — the  impres 
sion  of  the  turbaned  head  and  saffron  robe  harmonizing 
in  some  subtle  way  with  the  deep  tranquillity  of  a  counte 
nance  lighted  up  by  loving  kindness,  and  with  a  vivacity 
of  expression,  and  occasionally  of  gesture,  which  some 
how  seems  not  to  conflict  with,  but  to  express,  the  Peace 
of  God  within. 

For  the  cold  printed  page  to  reproduce  the  atmosphere 
diffused  by  such  a  personality,  or  even  to  transmit  to 
others  the  creative  impression  of  his  speech  is  impossible. 
It  is  the  more  so,  since  we  have  his  utterances,  not  in  his 
native  tongue  in  which  he  is  a  master  of  expression, 
but  in  English,  a  language  of  whose  subtleties  he  has 
but  small  command,  so  that  he  has  at  times  to  express  in 
the  phraseology  of  conventional  religion  thoughts  which 
to  him  are  fresh  and  living.  Face  to  face  with  him  in 
private  this  hardly  counts,  hearing  him  on  a  platform  it 
matters  more,  but  where  there  is  nothing  but  the  bare 
written  word  it  does  materially  impair  the  rich  impres 
sion  of  the  message  and  the  man.  Nevertheless,  though 
the  printed  page  cannot  do  full  justice  to  the  Sadhu,  it 
can  do  something.  The  many  who  have  seen  him  once, 


INTRODUCTION  ix 

and  have  felt  that  there  was  much  more  beyond  which 
they  would  gladly  apprehend,  will  read  into  it  the  mem 
ory  of  his  manner  and  his  presence;  and  even  those  to 
whom  he  is  only  known  by  hearsay  may  yet,  we  hope,  find 
something  of  solid  value.  At  any  rate  the  attempt  ought 
to  be  made  to  secure  that  the  Sadhu's  visit  to  the  West 
should  leave  behind  it  something  more  definite,  and  per 
haps  more  permanent,  than  the  personal  impressions 
of  a  fortunate  minority  and  the  passing  interest  of  the 
crowd. 

The  Sadhu's  mind  is  an  overflowing  reservoir  of  anec 
dote,  illustration,  epigram  and  parable,  but  he  never 
makes  the  slightest  effort  to  avoid  repetition;  in  fact 
he  appears  to  delight  in  it.  "We  do  not,"  he  says,  "re 
fuse  to  give  bread  to  hungry  people  because  we  have 
already  given  bread  to  others."  Hence  we  have  con 
stantly  found  the  same  material  occurring  in  more  than 
one  of  the  written  or  printed  authorities  we  have  used. 
"My  mouth,"  he  says,  "has  no  copyright";  and  many 
sayings  that  we  had  noted  down  from  his  own  lips  we 
afterwards  discovered  to  be  already  in  print.  In  most 
cases  the  versions  differ  extraordinarily  little,  but  we 
have  always  felt  free  to  correct  or  supplement  one  version 
by  another  at  our  discretion;  and,  seeing  that  English 
is  not  the  Sadhu's  native  tongue,  we  have  not  infre 
quently  ventured  on  emendations  of  a  purely  verbal  char 
acter. 

It  was  only  when  we  had  begun  to  collect  together 
scattered  sayings  on  the  same  topics,  that  we  ourselves 
realized  the  extent  to  which  his  teaching  is  a  complete 
theology  in  picture  form,  making  with  his  way  of  life 
and  his  mystic  experience  an  organic  whole.  And  if 


x  INTRODUCTION 

this  book  has  any  merit  beyond  fidelity  to  fact,  it  largely 
consists  in  the  attempt  to  seize  and  bring  out  this  inner 
unity  and  coherence.  This  has  necessarily  involved 
much  rearrangement  of  materials  and  the  bringing  to 
gether  into  the  same  context,  occasionally  even  into  the 
same  paragraph,  of  sayings  originally  spoken  on  dif 
ferent  occasions  or  derived  by  us  from  different  sources. 
We  have  thought  it  necessary  to  indicate  in  the  text  the 
exact  source  of  our  information  only  in  the  case  of  im 
portant  or  disputable  facts.  But  wherever  phrases  like 
"we  asked"  or  "he  told  us"  occur  they  imply  that  at 
least  one  of  the  authors  was  present  when  the  Sadhu 
made  the  particular  statement;  assertions  are,  however, 
often  made  on  this  same  evidence  in  contexts  where  the 
insertion  of  the  personal  pronoun  would  have  seemed  in 
trusive. 

Mr.  A.  J.  Appasamy,  who  collaborates  with  me  in 
this  study,  is  a  member  of  my  own  College,  who  after 
graduating  in  India  and  spending  four  years  in  post 
graduate  study  in  the  United  States  of  America  is  now 
engaged  in  research  upon  the  relation  of  the  Mysticism  of 
St.  John  to  that  of  the  Hindu  Bhakti  Poets.  During 
the  week  which  the  Sadhu  spent  in  Oxford  last  February, 
he  was  in  continual  contact  with  him.  Subsequently, 
when  we  had  conceived  and  had  commended  to  the  Sadhu 
the  idea  that  a  permanent  record  of  his  teaching  might 
be  of  real  value  towards  following  up  and  consolidating 
the  results  of  his  visit  to  England,  Mr.  Appasamy  lived! 
with  the  Sadhu  for  about  a  fortnight  in  London  and 
Paris,  asking  questions  and  making  notes,  and  was  pres 
ent  at  the  interviews  which  he  had  with  various  distin 
guished  persons.  One  such  interview  was  of  particular 
value  for  our  purpose.  Baron  von  Hiigel,  who  had  read 


INTRODUCTION  xi 

Mrs.  Parker's  account  of  the  Sadhu,  put  to  him  a  num 
ber  of  carefully  prepared  questions  suggested  by  his  un 
rivaled  knowledge  of  the  literature  of  Mysticism ;  and  he 
was  so  good  as  to  write  us  a  memorandum  on  certain 
aspects  of  the  Sadhu 's  philosophy  and  religion,  and  sub 
sequently  to  discuss  them  with  us  by  word  of  mouth. 

I  myself  had  personal  talks  with  the  Sadhu  and  heard 
him  address  meetings  both  in  Oxford  and  in  London ;  and 
last  May,  just  before  leaving  for  America,  he  came  again 
to  Oxford  and  stayed  with  me  in  College  for  the  express 
purpose  of  discussing  the  book.  For  the  greater  part  of 
a  couple  of  days  he  answered  our  questions  and  poured 
out  his  ideas,  providing  us  with  much  material,  includ 
ing  an  account  of  his  mystical  experiences,  which,  to  the 
best  of  our  belief,  has  never  been  made  public  before. 

In  order  to  secure  unity  of  style  and  presentation,  it 
was  arranged  that  the  final  rewriting  of  the  book  should 
be  in  my  hands.  But  at  every  stage,  including  even  the 
final  revision  of  the  proofs,  my  collaborator  and  I  have 
worked  in  the  closest  harmony  and  co-operation,  and  it  is 
impossible  to  say  of  the  book  as  a  whole  that  it  is  any 
more  the  work  of  the  one  than  of  the  other;  it  is  in 
every  sense  a  joint  production. 

It  was  the  Sadhu 's  desire  that  any  net  profit  that 
might  accrue  to  the  authors  from  this  book  should  be 
devoted  to  some  religious  purpose.  I  asked  him  to  name 
one,  but  he  preferred  to  leave  the  choice  to  me.  My  col 
laborator  and  I  have  agreed  that  it  would  be  most  ap 
propriately  assigned  to  the  National  Missionary  Society 
of  India. 

The  most  considerable  account  of  the  Sadhu  that  has 
so  far  appeared  is  Sadhu  Sundar  Singh,  by  Mrs.  Parker, 


xii  INTRODUCTION 

of  the  London  Mission,  Trivandram,  Travancore,  pub 
lished  by  the  Christian  Literature  Society  of  India,  who 
have  courteously  assented  to  our  reproducing  the  portrait 
which  forms  our  frontispiece.  By  the  author's  kind  per 
mission  we  have  to  some  extent  drawn  upon  this  valu 
able  source  of  information.  But,  partly  because  her 
book  has  been  already  so  widely  circulated  both  in  Eng 
land  and  America,  and  partly  because  our  purpose  is  not 
primarily  biographical,  we  have,  so  far  as  possible,  de 
liberately  avoided  covering  the  same  ground. 

Next  to  the  notes  taken  of  what  we  heard  from  the 
Sadhu's  own  lips,  our  main  authorities  for  his  teaching 
have  been  three.  First,  the  full  shorthand  reports  of  six 
of  his  addresses  in  this  country,  generously  put  at  our 
disposal  by  the  National  Council  of  the  Y.  M.  C.  A., 
through  the  kind  intervention  of  Mr.  W.  Hindle— not 
the  only  service  for  which  we  owe  him  gratitude.  Sec 
ondly,  a  collection  of  the  Sadhu's  discourses  published  by 
the  National  Missionary  Society  of  India,  Madras,  in  the 
Tamil  language — the  native  tongue  of  Mr.  Appasamy. 
The  Sadhu  informed  us  that  these  were  dictated  by  him 
in  Hindustani,  during  a  period  of  comparative  leisure,  to 
a  friend  whom  he  relied  on  as  expert  in  the  interpretation 
of  his  thought.  Thirdly,  Seven  Addresses,  delivered  in 
Ceylon  and  published  under  that  title  by  the  Kandy 
United  Christian  Mission.  We  have  also  incorporated 
some  valuable  matter  which  appeared  in  The  Bible  in  the 
World  and  in  The  Foreign  Field,  June,  1920.  Some  oc 
casional  quotations  from  writings  by  Mr.  A.  Zahir,  of 
St.  John's  College,  Agra,  a  friend  and  devoted  admirer 
of  the  Sadhu,  and  by  Mr.  A.  E.  Stokes,  at  one  time  his 
fellow-worker,  are  acknowledged  where  they  occur  in  the 
text.  We  desire  here  to  express  our  hearty  thanks  to 


INTRODUCTION  xiii 

those  editors  and  publishers  who  have  most  generously 
allowed  us  an  unrestricted  liberty  in  making  use  of  copy 
right  material. 

It  has  been  our  good  fortune  that  several  of  our  Indian 
friends  now  in  England  happen  to  have  come  into  close 
personal  contact  with  the  Sadhu  at  different  periods  of 
his  life  from  school-days  onward.  These,  as  well  as 
various  English  friends  who  had  known  him  in  India 
and  elsewhere,  have  given  us  the  greatest  assistance  in 
the  way  of  answering  questions,  suggesting  points  of 
view,  or  in  reading  the  whole  or  portions  of  the  book  in 
manuscript  or  in  proof.  But  when  it  is  impossible  to 
name  all  it  would  be  invidious  to  mention  any.  Finally, 
we  gratefully  record  our  obligation  to  Mrs.  White,  of 
Sherborne,  for  the  immense  labor  which  she  has  be 
stowed  upon  the  correction  of  the  proofs,  and  to  Mr.  R. 
D.  Richardson,  of  Hertford  College,  Oxford,  who  has 
compiled  the  Index. 

That  this  book  should  be  a  true  interpretation  of  his 
message  has,  we  know  from  his  letters,  been  the  Sadhu 's 
constant  prayer.  The  book  is  finished ;  but  we  are  filled 
with  a  sense  of  its  inadequacy  to  portray  the  man.  Com 
ing  from  the  presence  of  Sundar  Singh,  men  forget  them 
selves,  they  forget  him — but  they  think  of  Christ. 

B.  II.  S. 

QUEEN'S  COLLEGE,  OXFOBD, 
Feb.  1,  1921. 


SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 


THE  MAN  AND  HIS  MAKING 

THE  career  of  Sundar  Singh,  up  to  his  return  to  India 
from  the  West  in  September,  1920,  falls  into  four  periods 
clearly  defined.  The  first — of  which  the  latter  part  is 
marked  by  an  ever  more  and  more  anxious  quest  for 
Peace — ends  in  his  sixteenth  year  with  his  conversior 
to  Christianity.  The  second,  characterized  by  his  adop 
tion,  as  a  Christian,  of  the  life  of  a  Hindu  "holy  man" 
or  Sadhu1  comprises  seven  years  of  varied  experience 
and  inward  growth.  At  the  age  of  twenty-three  he  was 
impelled  to  attempt,  in  imitation  of  our  Lord,  a  Fast  of 
forty  days.  The  forty  days  were  apparently  not  com 
pleted,  but  from  the  attempt  he  himself  dates  a  great 
accession  of  spiritual  strength  and  insight.  This  marks 
the  Fast  as  the  beginning  of  a  third  period  in  his  life— 
a  period  of,  relatively  speaking,  spiritual  maturity,  as 
well  as  of  adventurous  labors  and  hairbreadth  escapes. 
Till  the  end  of  1917  his  activities  were  confined  to 
Northern  India  and  Tibet.  Early  in  1918  a  visit  to 
South  India  and  Ceylon  opened  a  fourth  period  of 
preaching  tours  involving  world-wide  travel.  The  first 

i  The  word  is  pronounced  as  if  spelled  Sadhoo,  with  accent  on 
first  syllable.  Its  significance  is  explained  on  p.  11. 

3 


4  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

of  these  brought  him  to  Burma,  the  Straits  Settlements, 
China  and  Japan;  the  second  to  Europe,  America  and 
Australia.  During  these  three  years  he  has  exchanged 
the  hardships  and  persecutions,  which  were  the  fiery 
trial  of  his  earlier  life,  for  the  more  perilous  ordeal 
which  tests  the  man  who  in  his  life-time  is  saluted — and 
that  not  undeservedly — as  an  Apostle  and  a  Saint. 

IN  QUEST  OP  PEACE 
1889-1904 

Born  of  wealthy  parents,  September  3,  1889,  at  Ram- 
pur,  in  the  state  of  Patiala  in  North  India,  the  youngest 
son  of  his  father,  Sundar  was  brought  up  in  the  midst 
of  luxury.  The  early  experience  of  a  comfortable  home 
is  one  to  which  he  frequently  alludes  in  his  addresses; 
contrasting  its  soft  ease,  made  worthless  by  spiritual 
disquiet,  with  the  hardships  of  a  sadhu  's  life,  rich  in  the 
happiness  of  inward  joy  and  peace.  His  parents  were 
Sikhs  by  race,  but  in  religious  thought  and  practice  they 
seem  to  have  been  almost  as  much  Hindus,  frequenting 
the  places  of  worship,  reading  the  sacred  books  and 
keeping  in  close  contact  with  the  teachers  of  both  re 
ligions.  Alluding  to  this  period  of  his  life,  with  a  play 
ing  upon  words  which  is  characteristic  of  his  speech, 
both  in  English  and  still  more  in  his  'native  tongue, 
Sundar  Singh  says,  "I  was  not  a  Sikh,  but  a  seeker-after 
Truth. " 

It  was  his  mother,  above  all,  who  fostered  and  guided 
his  unique  religious  bent.  Many  have  marked  the  love 
that  beams  on  his  face  whenever  he  speaks  of  her.  His 
addresses  to  mothers  hold  forth  lofty  ideas  of  the  pos 
sibilities  of  a  mother's  influence.  A  minister  once  sug- 


THE  MAN  AND  HIS  MAKING  5 

gested,  "It  would  add  very  much  to  your  effectiveness 
if  you  would  take  a  course  in  a  theological  college."  "I 
have  been,"  replied  the  Sadhu,  "to  the  best  theological 
college  in  the  world."  "Is  that  so?"  rejoined  the  min 
ister,  surprised.  "The  mother's  bosom,"  said  the 
Sadhu,  "is  the  best  theological  college  in  the  world." 
In  speaking  of  her  to  the  Archbishop  of  Canterbury,  he 
said :  "If  I  do  not  see  my  mother  in  heaven,  I  shall  ask 
God  to  send  me  to  hell  so  that  I  may  be  with  her." 
His  mother  constantly  held  before  him  the  life  of  a  sadhu 
as  the  ideal  to  follow  when  he  grew  up,  bidding  him 
abandon  the  things  of  the  world  and  strive  to  obtain 
that  inner  Peace,  alone  permanent  and  permanently 
satisfying,  the  quest  for  which  has  been  immemorial  in 
Indian  religion.  She  died  when  he  was  fourteen,  and 
we  may  surmise  that  the  sense  of  loss  helped  to  accentu 
ate  the  ardor  of  his  quest  during  the  next  two  years.1 

The  desire  to  obtain  this  Peace  which  she  had  planted 
in  his  heart  grew  stronger;  but  the  means  for  obtaining 
it  which  she  had  pointed  out  completely  failed  him.  By 
the  age  of  seven  he  knew  by  heart  most  of  the  Bhavagad 
Gita,  by  common  consent  the  most  sublime  of  the  Hindu 
Scriptures.  By  sixteen  he  had  read  the  Granth  of  the 
Sikhs,  the  Muhammadan  Quran,  and  a  number2  of  the 
Hindu  Upanishads — a  remarkable  achievement  even  if 
we  recollect  that  the  Indian  matures  considerably  earlier 
than  the  Anglo-Saxon.  But  it  was  all  in  vain.  His 
mother  had  taken  him  to  priests  and  sadhus  who  might 
point  out  to  him  sacred  texts  which  would  show  him  the 

1  The  reflections  on  the  death  of  dear  ones  seem  to  be  based  on 
personal  experionce. 

2  He  is  uncertain  how  many;  he  thinks  fifty -two.     The  Quran 
would  be  read  in  Urdu. 


6  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

way ;  and  for  some  time,  under  the  direction  of  a  Hindu 
sadhu,  he  practiced  a  form  of  Yoga — one  of  the  methods, 
much  esteemed  among  Hindus,  of  seeking  identification 
with  the  Supreme  Spirit,  and  the  resultant  peace  and 
illumination,  by  concentration  leading  up  to  a  state  of 
trance — but  with  no  avail.  With  the  Bible  he  first  be 
came  acquainted  at  the  Presbyterian  Mission  School  in 
his  village,  but  it  repelled  him  as  being  utterly  sub 
versive  of  the  religion  of  his  fathers  and  offensive  to  the 
proud  traditions  of  his  Sikh  blood.  He  little  thought 
that  from  this  unlikely  source  he  would  ultimately  gain 
the  Peace  he  sought. 

CONVERT  AND  SADHU 
1904-1912 

The  story  of  his  conversion,  which  occurred  on  Decem 
ber  18,  1904,  is  best  given  in  his  own  words,  quoted  from 
one  of  the  Kandy  addresses.  "Preachers  and  Christians 
in  general  had  often  come  to  me  and  I  used  to  resist  them 
and  persecute  them.  When  I  was  out  in  any  town  I  got 
people  to  throw  stones  at  Christian  preachers.  I  would 
tear  up  the  Bible  and  burn  it  when  I  had  a  chance.  In 
the  presence  of  my  father  I  cut  up  the  Bible  and  other 
Christian  books  and  put  kerosene  oil  upon  them  and 
burnt  them.  I  thought  this  was  a  false  religion  and 
tried  all  I  could  to  destroy  it.  I  was  faithful  to  my  own 
religion,  but  I  could  not  get  any  satisfaction  or  peace, 
though  I  performed  all  the  ceremonies  and  rites  of  that 
religion.  So  I  thought  of  leaving  it  all  and  committing 
suicide.  Three  days  after  I  had  burnt  the  Bible,  I  woke 
up  about  three  o'clock  in  the  morning,  had  my  usual 
bath,  and  prayed,  '0  God,  if  there  is  a  God,  wilt  thou 


THE  MAN  AND  HIS  MAKING  7 

show  me  the  right  way  or  I  will  kill  myself. '  My  inten 
tion  was  that,  if  I  got  no  satisfaction,  I  would  place  my 
head  upon  the  railway  line  when  the  5  o'clock  train 
passed  by  and  kill  myself.  If  I  got  no  satisfaction  in 
this  life,  I  thought  I  would  get  it  in  the  next.  I  was 
praying  and  praying  but  got  no  answer;  and  I  prayed 
for  half  an  hour  longer  hoping  to  get  peace.  At  4.30 
A.M.  I  saw  something  of  which  I  had  no  idea  at  all  pre 
viously.  In  the  room  where  I  was  praying  I  saw  a 
great  light.  I  thought  the  place  was  on  fire.  I  looked 
round,  but  could  find  nothing.  Then  the  thought  came 
to  me  that  this  might  be  an  answer  that  God  had  sent 
me.  Then  as  I  prayed  and  looked  into  the  light,  I  saw 
the  form  of  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ.  It  had  such  an  ap 
pearance  of  glory  and  love.  If  it  had  been  some  Hindu 
incarnation  I  would  have  prostrated  myself  before  it. 
But  it  was  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  whom  I  had  been  in 
sulting  a  few  days  before.  I  felt  that  a  vision  like  this 
could  not  come  out  of  my  own  imagination.  I  heard  a 
voice  saying  in  Hindustani,  'How  long  will  you  perse 
cute  me?  I  have  come  to  save  you;  you  were  praying 
to  know  the  right  way.  Why  do  you  not  take  it?'  The 
thought  then  came  to  me,  'Jesus  Christ  is  not  dead  but 
living  and  it  must  be  He  Himself.'  So  I  fell  at  His 
feet  and  got  this  wonderful  Peace  which  I  could  not  get 
anywhere  else.  This  is  the  joy  I  was  wishing  to  get. 
This  was  heaven  itself.  When  I  got  up,  the  vision  had 
all  disappeared ;  but  although  the  vision  disappeared  the 
Peace  and  Joy  have  remained  with  me  ever  since.  I 
went  off  and  told  my  father  that  I  had  become  a  Chris 
tian.  He  told  me, '  Go  and  lie  down  and  sleep ;  why,  only 
the  day  before  yesterday  you  burnt  the  Bible ;  and  you 
say  you  are  a  Christian  now.'  I  said,  'Well,  I  have 


8  SADHTJ  SUNDAR  SINGH 

discovered  now  that  Jesus  Christ  is  alive  and  have  de 
termined  to  be  His  follower.  To-day  I  am  His  disciple 
and  I  am  going  to  serve  Him.'  " 

The  suggestion  has  apparently  been  made  to  him  that 
the  vision  was  nothing  but  a  dream  or  a  creation  of  his 
own  imagination ;  or,  again,  that  it  was  similar  to  visions 
seen  by  Hindu  Yogis  in  that  trance  state  which  Sundar 
is  himself  inclined  to  ascribe  to  self-hypnotism.  In  re 
ply  Sundar  emphasizes  the  two  facts  that  before  com 
mencing  his  prayer  he  had  taken  a  cold  bath  that  winter 
morning  and  so  could  not  have  been  dreaming  and  that 
the  appearance  of  Christ  was  entirely  unexpected.  But 
he  attaches  most  importance  to  the  consideration  that 
the  effect  of  the  vision  has  been  so  revolutionary  and 
so  permanent;  the  Peace  which  rushed  into  his  soul  on 
that  occasion  has  never  abandoned  him  all  these  fourteen 
years,  and  in  moments  of  exceptional  stress  or  persecu 
tion  only  becomes  the  more  profound.  The  one  infer 
ence  he  can  draw  from  this  is  that  some  new  power  from 
outside  entered  into  his  life  from  that  moment  and  that 
it  was  Christ  Himself  who  appeared  and  spoke  to  him. 
He  also  thinks  that  at  that  time  he  did  not  know  the 
story  of  St.  Paul's  conversion;  though,  of  course,  on  a 
point  of  that  kind  the  human  memory  cannot  be  im 
plicitly  relied  on.  But  he  acknowledges,  and  is  indeed 
always  anxious  to  emphasize,  the  part  played  by  the 
Bible  in  leading  up  to  his  conversion.1  In  speaking  to 
us  of  visions  of  Christ  seen,  and  words  heard,  by  him 
on  subsequent  occasions  when  in  a  state  of  Ecstasy,  he 
clearly  and  emphatically  distinguished  the  vision  at  his 
conversion  when  he  saw  Christ  with  his  bodily  eyes  and 
iCf.  p.  197. 


THE  MAN  AND  HIS  MAKING  9 

heard  him  "with  these  ears"  from  the  later  visions  when 
he  saw  and  heard  with  "spiritual"  sight  and  hearing. 

Believing  as  we  do  that  the  spirit  of  scientific  inquiry 
is  in  no  respect  opposed  to  the  spirit  of  Religion,  but 
that  they  are  two  separate  ways  by  which  man  may  at 
tain  to  different  aspects  of  the  one  Truth,  we  should  our 
selves  maintain  that  the  Divine  power  works  in  and 
through  the  laws  of  psychology,  no  less  than  in  and 
through  the  other  laws  of  Nature.1  Hence  we  have  no 
hesitation  in  affirming  our  conviction  that  the  Sadhu  did 
in  this  vision  receive  a  real  and  definite  Divine  call.  But 
we  do  not  on  that  account  feel  any  inclination  to  deny 
that  the  form  in  which  it  was  received  was  conditioned 
by  psychological  laws.  At  any  rate,  there  is  no  doubt 
that  this  vision  was  the  turning-point  of  his  life.  Hence 
forth  the  discordant  elements  which  had  been  striving 
within  him  for  mastery  were  composed  into  a  new  har 
mony,  a  new  equilibrium  was  set  up,  a  new  scale  of 
values  was  established,  and  from  that  hour  he  became 
a  new  man. 

His  father,  his  uncle,  his  elder  brother — his  mother, 
we  remember,  was  already  dead — made  every  effort  to 
dissuade  the  boy  from  becoming  a  Christian.  Promises 
of  the  wealth  and  social  position  that  would  be  his  if  he 
remained  in  the  ancestral  religion,  doleful  reminders  of 
the  shame  and  dishonor  that  would  fall  upon  the  family 
should  he  become  a  Christian,  failed  to  move  him  from 
his  purpose.  When  love  and  reason  failed,  persecution 
was  tried.  For  nine  months  indignities  and  humiliations 
were  heaped  upon  him.  After  that,  when  an  appeal  by  a 
friendly  Kaja  to  his  honor  and  pride  of  race  left  his 
i  Cf.  The  Spirit,  ed.  B.  H.  Streeter,  Essay  II.  (Macmillan). 


10  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

resolution  still  unbroken,  he  was  finally  disowned  and 
ordered  to  depart  forever.  He  left  his  home  with  food 
in  which  poison  had  been  mingled.  It  was  better  that 
he  should  die  than  continue  to  disgrace  the  family. 

"I  remember  the  night  when  I  was  driven  out  of  my 
home — the  first  night.  When  I  came  to  know  my  Savior 
I  told  my  father  and  my  brother  and  my  other  relations. 
At  first  they  did  not  take  much  notice;  but  afterwards 
they  thought  that  it  was  a  great  dishonor  that  I  should 
become  a  Christian,  and  so  I  was  driven  out  of  my  home. 
The  first  night  I  had  to  spend,  in  cold  weather,  under  a 
tree.  I  had  had  no  such  experience.  I  was  not  used  to 
living  in  such  a  place  without  a  shelter.  I  began  to 
think :  '  Yesterday  and  before  that  I  used  to  live  in  the 
midst  of  luxury  at  my  home;  but  now  I  am  shivering 
here,  and  hungry  and  thirsty  and  without  shelter,  with 
no  warm  clothes  and  no  food. '  I  had  to  spend  the  whole 
night  under  the  tree.  But  I  remember  the  wonderful 
joy  and  peace  in  my  heart,  the  presence  of  my  Savior. 
I  held  my  New  Testament  in  my  hand.  I  remember  that 
night  as  my  first  night  in  heaven.  I  remember  the  won 
derful  joy  that  made  me  compare  that  time  with  the  time 
when  I  was  living  in  a  luxurious  home.  In  the  midst 
of  luxuries  and  comfort  I  could  not  find  peace  in  my 
heart.  The  presence  of  the  Savior  changed  the  suffer 
ing  into  peace.  Ever  since  then  I  have  felt  the  pres 
ence  of  the  Savior. ' ' * 

He  was  baptized  at  Simla,  in  the  Church  of  England, 
on  September  3,  1905. 

In  deciding  as  a  Christian  to  don  the  habit  and  take 
up  the  way  of  life  of  a  Hindu  ' '  holy  man, ' '  Sundar  was 
putting  into  practice  a  striking  and  creative  idea.  A 

i  The  Bille  in  the  World,  June,  1920. 


THE  MAN  AND  HIS  MAKING  11 

sadhu,  a  sannyasi,  or  a  fakir — the  distinction,  between 
these  we  need  not  here  elaborate — owns  nothing  on  earth 
but  the  saffron  robe  which  is  the  mark  tff  his  "profes 
sion."  He  devotes  himsdf  entirely  to  the  particular 
type  of  the  religious  life  he  has  adopted,  which  varies 
with  the  individual  and  may  consist  predominantly  either 
in  ascetic  practices,  in  solitary  meditation  and  mystic 
trance,  or,  more  rarely,  in  preaching.  A  "holy  man" 
is  treated  with  profound  respect.  Men  of  the  highest 
place  do  him  reverence.  Superstition  invests  him  with 
mysterious  powers.  To  supply  him  with  a  meal  or  a 
night's  lodging  is  an  act  of  religious  merit — a  fact  which 
makes  the  "profession"  a  possible  one  to  men  of  high 
ideals  and  holy  life,  an  attractive  one  to  many  whose 
ideals  and  whose  lives  are  the  reverse  of  high  or  holy. 
But,  in  spite  of  the  delinquencies  of  the  many,  the  con 
spicuous  asceticism  of  the  few  has  kept  alive  its  pres 
tige;  and  a  true  Sannyasi  is  saluted  with  divine  and 
royal  titles  like  Swami,  Mahatma,  Maharaja. 

The  adoption  by  a  convert  to  Christianity  of  the  role 
of  a  sadhu  promised  one  great  advantage  at  the  price  of 
one  great  difficulty.  The  advantage  lay  in  the  oppor 
tunity  of  presenting  the  new  religion  in  a  specially  and 
characteristically  Hindu  form.  The  difficulty  arose 
from  the  fact  that  the  respect  and  veneration  tradition 
ally  accorded  to  the  person  and  life  of  a  sadhu  was  liable 
'to  be  turned  into  resentment  and  persecution  once  it  was 
realized  that  it  was  Christianity  which  this  particular 
sadhu  was  concerned  to  preach.  During  the  next  seven 
years  Sundar  was  to  experience  acutely  both  the  diffi 
culties  and  the  advantages  of  the  choice  he  made — wan 
dering  from  place  to  place,  possessing  nothing  but  his 
robe,  his  blanket,  and  a  copy  of  the  New  Testament,  liv- 


12  SADHU  SUNDAE  SINGH 

ing  on  food  offered  him  by  hearers  grateful  or  compas 
sionate,  or,  when  that  was  not  forthcoming,  on  roots  or 
leaves,  accepting  hospitality  when  offered  or,  failing  that, 
sleeping  in  caves  or  under  trees. 

The  population  of  India,  it  should  be  remembered, 
and  of  the  adjoining  states  lives  mainly  in  villages. 
Hence  it  is  in  the  villages,  where  the  advent  of  a  new 
comer  requires  no  advertisement  to  collect  an  audience, 
that  the  Sadhu  has  until  quite  recently  done  his  main 
preaching  work.  His  first  journey  covered  the  Punjab — 
his  own  province, — Kashmir,  Baluchistan  and  Afghani 
stan.  He  ended  up  with  a  short  rest  at  a  village  named 
Kotgarh,  in  the  Himalayas,  some  6000  feet  above  sea- 
level  and  55  miles  from  Simla.  This  village  has  ever 
since  been  a  kind  of  headquarters  or,  at  least,  a  point  of 
beginning  and  ending  for  his  preaching  tours. 

Here  towards  the  end  of  1906  Sundar  came  into  con 
tact  with  Mr.  S.  E.  Stokes,  a  wealthy  American  gentle 
man  who,  fascinated  by  the  character  and  ideals  of  St. 
Francis  of  Assisi,  had  renounced  all  earthly  possessions 
and  was  endeavoring  to  found  a  brotherhood  for  mis 
sionary  work  in  India  on  the  model  of  the  early  Fran 
ciscans.  "Some  weeks  after  I  had  changed  my  life," 
writes  Mr.  Stokes,  "an  Indian  Christian  was  moved  to 
join  me.  He  was  a  convert  from  the  Sikhs  and  had  been 
traveling  about  the  country  as  a  Christian  sadhu  (holy 
man)  for  more  than  a  year.  .  .  .  When  my  work  took 
me  to  the  plains,  he  remained  in  charge  of  our  interests 
up  in  the  mountains  and  labored  so  faithfully  and  with 
such  effect  that  all  were  astonished.  His  work  has  been 
far  better  than  my  own,  and  although  he  is  scarcely  more 
than  a  boy  he  has  suffered  hunger,  cold,  sickness  and 


THE  MAN  AND  HIS  MAKING  13 

even  imprisonment  for  his  Master. ' ' 1  Besides  preach 
ing  in  the  villages  the  two  worked  together  in  the  Leper 
Asylum  at  Sabathu  and  in  a  plague  camp  near  Lahore. 
Sundar  himself  says  that  he  and  Stokes  actually  lived 
together  only  for  three  months,  though  they  worked  in 
cooperation  for.  two  years.  From  Stokes  naturally  he 
heard  much  about  St.  Francis. 

The  Sadhu  always  speaks  of  St.  Francis  with  the  ut 
most  veneration;  and  to  have  thus,  at  the  beginning  of 
his  career,  been  enabled  to  admire  a  spiritual  genius 
whose  aims  and  manner  of  life  were  so  closely  akin  to 
his  own  ideal  of  a  "Christian  sadhu"  cannot  but  have 
been  both  an  inspiration  and  an  abiding  influence.  At 
the  same  time  we  must  rule  out  the  idea  of  any  conscious 
imitation  of  St.  Francis.  "Be  yourself,  do  not  copy 
others"  is  a  fundamental  principle  with  the  Sadhu,  both 
in  his  own  life  and  in  his  advice  to  others.  Indeed, 
while  speaking  with  considerable  admiration  of  the  char 
acter  and  work  of  Mr.  Stokes,  he  told  us  that  he  thought 
that  his  friend  had  made  a  mistake  in  attempting  too 
slavishly  to  imitate  the  Franciscan  model,  and  that  he 
had  declined  himself  to  become  a  full  member  of  the  new 
brotherhood. 

In  regard  to  one  very  important  matter  he  has  always 
hitherto  refused  to  imitate  St.  Francis.  "St.  Francis 
felt  that  it  was  God's  will  that  he  should  start  a  new 
Order:  but  I  do  not  feel  it  is  God's  will  for  me." 
Wisely  or  unwisely,  he  has  so  far  given  small  encourage 
ment  to  those  who  have  urged  him  to  form  an  Order  of 
Christian  sadhus.  He  thinks  that  such  Orders  generally 

i  S.  E.  Stokes,  The  Love  of  God,  p.  7  (Longmans).  Mr.  Stokes 
gave  up  the  Franciscan  manner  of  life  after  about  five  years. 


14  SADHTJ  SUNDAR  SINGH 

become  corrupt  after  the  lifetime  of  the  Founder,  and 
also  that  religious  organizations  tend  to  make  too  much 
of  human  help.  "On  the  mountains  torrents  flow  right 
along,  cutting  their  own  courses.  But  on  the  plains  ca 
nals  have  to  be  dug  out  painfully  by  men  so  that  the 
water  might  flow.  So  among  those  who  live  on  the 
heights  with  God,  the  Holy  Spirit  makes  its  way  through 
of  its  own  accord,  whereas  those  who  devote  little  time 
to  prayer  and  communion  with  God  have  to  organize 
painfully. ' ' 

This  decision  of  the  Sadhu 's,  and  his  complete  lack 
of  interest  in  organization — and  probably  of  any  capac 
ity  for  it — differentiates  him  at  once  from  St.  Francis 
and  St.  Paul,  the  two  supreme  Missionary  Mystics,  with 
each  of  whom  he  has  so  many  other  points  of  contact. 
The  Sadhu  has  felt  deep  solicitude  for  individuals  among 
his  "spiritual  god-children,"  as  he  calls  them,  but  "the 
care  of  all  the  churches,"  or  the  threatened  contumacy 
of  a  General  Chapter  he  has  not  experienced.  He  has 
borne  the  cross  in  many  ways  but  he  has  never  had  to 
agonize  or  fight  lest  some  beloved  community  should  re 
lapse  to  legalism,  collapse  in  schism,  or  apostatize  from 
the  primitive  simplicity  of  the  Rule.  And,  perhaps, 
just  for  this  reason,  there  are  subtle  ways  in  which  his 
vision  has  in  some  directions  not  penetrated  quite  so 
deep  as  that  of  Paul  or  Francis. 

In  1908  the  Sadhu  took  his  first  journey  into  Tibet. 
And  from  that  time  on  he  has  made  that  country  his 
principal  field  of  work.  He  was  drawn  to  Tibet,  partly 
by  the  fact  that  little  or  no  Christian  preaching  has  been 
done  hitherto — there  being  only  a  few  Missionaries, 
chiefly  Moravians,  on  the  border, — and  partly  because 
he  regards  the  conversion  of  Tibet  as  a  duty  preemi- 


THE  MAN  AND  HIS  MAKING  15 

nently  incumbent  on  the  missionary  effort  of  the  Indian 
Church.  The  religion  of  Tibet  is  a  debased  form  of 
Buddhism;  and  the  fact  that  the  priests,  or  Lamas,  as 
they  are  called,  in  virtue  of  their  priestly  office,  occupy 
also  all  positions  of  civil  authority  naturally  makes  them 
bitter  opponents  of  religious  innovation.  But  the  at 
traction  for  the  Sadhu  of  this  particular  field  has  been 
undoubtedly  strengthened  by  the  exceptional  hardships 
which  the  work  entails.  Suffering  amidst  the  cold  and 
snow,  the  certainty  of  persecution  and  the  possibility 
of  martyrdom,  appeal  to  that  passion  in  him  for  com 
panionship  in  the  sufferings  of  Christ  which  is  a  dom 
inant  quality  in  his  life  and  which  has  led  many — mis 
takenly,  as  we  shall  see  later — to  style  him  an  Ascetic. 
Since  1908  his  plan  has  been  to  spend  half  the  year  or 
rather  more  in  Tibet  and  during  the  winter  months  to 
work  in  India.  He  once  tried  preaching  in  Tibet  in 
winter,  but  a  drift  of  snow  twelve  feet  deep  kept  him 
seventeen  days  in  one  house,  and  convinced  him  that 
the  life  of  an  itinerant  preacher  was  impossible  there 
at  that  season. 

The  years  1909  and  1910  were  spent  at  St.  John's 
Divinity  College,  Lahore.  A  fellow-student  at  the  Col 
lege  recalls  how  there  also  he  lived  the  life  of  a  sadhu. 
Though  he  never  complained  and  rarely  criticized,  he 
was  undoubtedly  out  of  harmony  with  the  interests  and 
outlook  of  the  average  student.  He  was  also  sincerely 
distressed  at  the  extent  to  which  Christians  in  general 
fell  short  of  the  ideals  of  their  profession — a  judgment 
which  must  be  interpreted  in  the  light  of  the  Sadhu 's 
own  exalted  practice,  and  not  be  taken  as  a  special 
reflection  on  the  Christians  of  Lahore.  The  curriculum 
of  studies  also,  however  suited  to  an  ordinary  student, 


16  SADHU  SUNDAE,  SINGH 

could  hardly  have  appealed  to  one  of  his  temperament 
and  experience;  and  it  would  seem  that  to  this  period 
of  his  life  must  be  assigned  the  maturing  of  the  con 
viction  that  religious  knowledge  of  the  highest  kind  is 
acquired,  not  by  intellectual  study,  but  by  direct  con 
tact  with  Christ,  which  expresses  itself  in  his  favorite 
doctrine  that  Religion  is  a  matter,  not  of  the  head,  but 
of  the  heart. 

It  was  apparently  at  Lahore  that  he  first  came  across 
the  Imitation  of  Christ,  a  book  which  he  has  read  fre 
quently  since  and  which  has  left  clear  traces  on  his 
1  'Philosophy  of  the  Cross."  The  Bible  and  the  Book 
of  Nature  are,  he  says,  the  only  books  which  he  still  regu 
larly  reads.  And  indeed  they  are  the  only  books  he 
has  always  by  him.  But  occasionally  when  staying  with 
friends  he  will  take  up  other  books,  especially  if  he 
finds  something  by  or  about  one  of  the  Mystics.  He 
has  read  a  life  of  St.  Francis — by  whom  or  when  he 
could  not  remember,  that  is  the  kind  of  detail  in  which 
he  takes  no  interest.  At  some  time  he  has  dipped  into 
Al-Ghazzali  and  other  Sufi  Mystics.  He  has  also  read 
in  this  way  something  of  Boehme,  St.  Theresa,  St.  John 
of  the  Cross,  and  a  very  little  of  Swedenborg  and  Ma 
dame  Guyon.  We  fancy  that  he  only  made  the  acquaint 
ance  of  these  last  five  in  comparatively  recent  years, 
but  could  learn  nothing  definite  from  him  about  dates. 

While  at  college  he  began  to  learn  to  play  the  Sitar, 
an  Indian  stringed  instrument,  but  he  soon  gave  it  up, 
because  it  took  up  too  much  time  and  because,  as  a 
sadhu,  it  would  be  difficult  to  carry  it  about  with  him. 
So  he  gave  it  to  a  friend,  asking  him  to  make  the  best 
use  of  it  for  the  glory  of  God.  Music  affected  him  very 
differently  in  different  moods;  when  his  mind  was  bur- 


THE  MAN  AND  HIS  MAKING  17 

dened  with  the  largeness  of  tasks  ahead,  it  tended  to 
be  depressing.  At  supreme  moments  he  sometimes  breaks 
Out  with  hymns  of  thanksgiving,  but  his  general  attitude 
he  humorously  expresses  thus:  "I  would  rather  not 
sing:  I  am  afraid  I  might  only  make  a  noise." 

Shortly  after  this  he  came  to  an  important  decision. 
He  had  been  recommended  for  Deacon's  Orders,  and 
had  been  already  given  a  license  to  preach.  But  when 
he  realized  that  taking  Holy  Orders  in  the  Church  of 
England  would  hamper  his  freedom  of  action  in  regard 
to  Christians  of  other  denominations  and  would  im 
pose  restrictions  and  limitations  on  his  sphere  of  Christ 
ian  work,  he  decided  not  to  proceed  to  the  Diaconate 
and  at  the  same  time  returned  his  license  to  Bishop 
Lefroy,  at  that  time  Bishop  o-f  Lahore.  The  Bishop, 
recognizing  the  call  of  the  Sadhu  for  work  of  a  special 
character  and  a  wider  sphere,  entirely  acquiesced  in 
the  wisdom  of  the  step,  and  continued  to  the  end  of  his 
days  to  take  a  deep  and  fatherly  interest  in  him  and  in 
his  work. 

When  the  Sadhu  was  in  Oxford  we  inquired  his  exact 
motive  in  giving  up  his  license.  "I  was  told,"  he  re 
plied,  "that  if  ordained  in  the  Church  of  England  I 
could  not  preach  in  other  churches,  though  I  could  speak 
in  the  schools  and  colleges  of  other  Christians."  This 
remark  led  on  to  a  conversation  on  the  subject  of  Chris 
tian  unity.  We  noted  the  following  characteristically 
epigrammatic  remarks:  "If  Christians  cannot  live  to 
gether  happily  here  in  this  short  life,  how  will  they 
live  together  in  Eternity?"  "The  children  of  God  are 
very  dear  but  very  queer.  They  are  very  nice  but  very 
narrow/'  '"I  told  the  Archbishop  of  Canterbury  that 
just  as  there  are  high  caste  and  low  caste  in  India, 


18  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

so  there  are  high  Church  and  low  Church  in  the  Church 
of  England:  Christ  Himself  would  not  have  made  such 
differences."  Speaking  further  of  his  interview  with 
the  Archbishop  at  Lambeth,  "I  told  him  frankly."  he 
said,  "that  I  was  speaking  in  Anglican  Churches  and 
that  I  had  also  accepted  an  invitation  from  Dr.  J.  H. 
Jowett  to  speak  in  Westminster  Chapel  and  another 
invitation  to  speak  in  the  Metropolitan  Tabernacle. 
'That  is  quite  all  right — for  you/  said  the  Archbishop 
with  a  smile."  But  though  quietly  insisting  on  com 
plete  freedom  of  action  for  himself,  the  Sadhu  is  in  no 
sense  hostile  to  ecclesiastical  authority  as  such.  Before 
leaving  the  Archbishop,  responding  to  a  suggestion  from 
a  High  Church  friend  who  accompanied  him,  he  de 
voutly  kneeled  before  him  to  receive  his  blessing.  The 
Archbishop  expressed  an  anxiety  to  meet  him  again, 
and,  as  this  could  not  be  arranged,  was  present  on  the 
platform  at  a  meeting  of  London  clergy,  presided  over 
by  the  Bishop  of  London,  at  which  the  Sadhu  spoke. 

Three  anecdotes  will  suffice  just  to  suggest  the  "  atmos 
phere,"  so  to  speak,  of  the  life  of  a  Christian  sadhu 
unattached  to  any  religious  organization,  which  from 
now  on  he  finally  adopted.  The  first  we  heard  from  his 
own  lips  in  a  drawing-room  in  Paris. 

One  day  while  journeying  towards  a  certain  village, 
he  caught  sight  of  two  men  in  front  of  him,  one  of  whom 
suddenly  disappeared.  A  little  further  on  he  overtook 
the  remaining  man  who,  pointing  to  a  figure  on  the 
ground  covered  with  a  sheet,  told  the  Sadhu  that  this 
was  his  friend  who  had  died  by  the  way, ' '  I  am  a  stranger 
here;  I  pray  you,  help  me  with  money  for  his  burial." 
Sundar  had  only  two  pice  which  had  been  given  him 
for  the  toll  bar  of  a  bridge  he  was  to  cross,  and  his 


THE  MAN  AND  HIS  MAKING  19 

blanket,  but  these  he  gave  to  the  man  and  passed  on. 
He  had  not  gone  far  when  the  man  came  running  after 
him,  fell  at  his  feet  and  sobbed  out,  "My  companion  is 
really  dead."  The  Sadhu  did  not  understand,  until  he 
explained  that  it  was  their  practice  to  take  it  in  turns 
to  prey  on  travelers  by  pretending  that  one  of  them  was 
dead.  This  they  had  done  for  years ;  but  that  day,  when 
the  man  went  back  to  call  his  friend,  there  was  no  re 
sponse  and  on  lifting  the  cloth  he  was  horror-stricken 
to  find  him  actually  dead.  "I  am  very  glad,"  he 
added  naively,  ''that  it  was  not  my  turn  to  play  the 
dead  man  to-day."  The  wretched  man,  convinced  that 
here  was  some  great  saint  whom  they  had  robbed  of  all 
he  had,  and  thus  merited  the  displeasure  of  the  gods, 
implored  forgiveness  of  the  Sadhu.  Then  Sundar  spoke 
to  him  of  Christ  and  how  from  Him  he  might  obtain 
forgiveness.  ''Make  me  your  disciple,"  said  the  man. 
"How  can  I  make  you  my  disciple  when  I  myself  am 
only  a  disciple?"  replied  the  Sadhu.1  He  allowed  the 
man,  however,  to  accompany  him  in  his  wanderings  for 
a  while.  Later  on  he  sent  him  to  a  mission  station  near 
Garhwal,  where  in  due  time  he  was  baptized. 

A  second  story  we  quote  from  Mrs.  Parker's  sketch. 

"At  a  village  in  the  district  of  Thoria  the  people  be 
haved  so  badly  to  him  that  his  nights  were  always  spent 
in  the  jungle  as  long  as  he  was  working  amongst  them. 
On  a  particularly  dark  night,  after  a  discouragingly  hard 
day,  the  Sadhu  found  a  cave  where  he  spread  his  blanket 
and  spent  the  night.  When  daylight  came  it  revealed 
a  large  leopard  still  asleep  close  to  him.  The  sight 
almost  paralyzed  him  with  fear,  but  once  outside  the 

i  We  are  not  quite  certain  whether  this  reply  was  made  on 
this  or  on  some  other  occasion. 


20  SADHTJ  SUNDAR  SINGH 

cave  he  could  only  reflect  upon  the  great  providence  of 
God  that  had  preserved  him  while  he  slept.  'Never  to 
this  day,'  he  says,  'has  any  wild  animal  done  me 
harm'."1 

Our  authority  for  the  story  that  follows  is  a  signed 
letter  to  the  North  Indian  Christian  weekly,  the  Nur 
Afshan,  quoted  by  Mr.  Zahir.2  The  writer,  an  Indian 
gentleman  in  the  Forest  Department  of  the  Civil  Service, 
tells  how  one  day,  when  descending  a  mountain,  he  met 
a  sadhu  going  up.  Curiosity  prompted  him  to  watch 
what  would  happen,  so  instead  of  joining  him  for  a 
talk,  as  he  at  first  thought  of  doing,  he  waited.  And  this 
was  what  he  saw.  When  the  Sadhu  reached  a  village 
he  sat  down  upon  a  log,  and,  wiping  the  perspiration 
from  his  face,  commenced  singing  a  Christian  hymn. 
Soon  a  crowd  gathered,  but  when  it  was  found  that  the 
love  of  Christ  was  the  theme,  many  of  the  people  became 
angry — including  the  writer  of  the  letter,  who  was  a 
keen  member  of  the  Arya  Samaj.3  One  man  jumped 
up  and  dealt  the  Sadhu  a  blow  that  knocked  him  off 
his  seat,  cutting  his  cheek  and  hand  badly.  Without  a 
word  Sundar  rose,  bound  up  his  hand  with  his  turban, 
and,  the  blood  still  running  down  his  face,  began  to  sing 
praises  to  God  and  to  invoke  His  blessing  on  his  perse- 

i  Parker,  p.  46. 

2  Zahir,  A  Lover  of  the  Cross,  p    14. 

3  The  Arya  Samaj  is  perhaps  the  most  influential  of  the  various 
modern  reform  movements  in  India.  It  is  a  kind  of  Protestant 
Reformation  of  Hinduism,  its  motto  being  "back  to  the  Vedas" — 
the  primitive  scriptures  of  India — accompanied  by  the  abolition 
of  images  in  worship  a,nd  great  stress  on  education.  Much  of  its 
inspiration  is  derived  from  its  claim  to  find  in  the  most  ancient 
elements  of  the  national  religion  ideals  sufficiently  lofty  to  be 
an  effective  counterpoise  to  the  growing  attraction  of  Christianity. 


THE  MAN  AND  HIS  MAKING  21 

cutors.  The  man,  Kripa  Ram,  who  had  thrown  Sundar 
down,  afterwards  sought  long  and  earnestly  for  him,  in 
the  hope  that  he  might  be  baptized  by  "that  wounded 
hand,"  but  not  finding  him,  he  accepted  baptism  from 
a  local  missionary,  whose  name  is  given,  but  still  hopes 
some  day  to  see  the  Sadhu.  The  witness  goes  on  to 
explain  at  length  how  the  incident  has  completely  revo 
lutionized  his  own  attitude  towards  Christianity,  and 
ends  with  a  request  to  all  readers  of  the  paper  to  pray 
for  him  that  he  may  be  able  (by  baptism)  to  confess 
openly  his  faith  in  Christ. 

THE  ACHIEVEMENT  OF  MATURITY 
1912-1918 

In  spite  of  the  dissuasions  of  friends,  the  Sadhu,  in 
his  twenty-third  year,  felt  driven  to  essay  a  Fast  of 
Forty  Days  in  imitation  of  his  Master.  Choosing  a 
shadowy  place  in  the  jungly  country  between  Hardwar 
and  Dehra  Dun,  and  noting  down  in  his  New  Testa 
ment  the  exact  day  on  which  he  began  his  fast,  he  placed 
near  him,  as  a  means  of  reckoning  time,  a  heap  of  forty 
stones,  one  of  which  he  was  to  throw  aside  every  day. 
During  the  early  stages  of  the  fast  there  was  a  feeling 
of  intense  burning  in  his  stomach  on  account  of  lack  of 
food,  but  this  soon  passed  away.  In  the  course  of  the 
fast  he  saw  Christ,  not,  he  says,  as  at  his  conversion, 
with  his  physical  eyes,  because  they  were  now  dim  and 
could  not  see  anything,  but  in  a  spiritual  vision,  with 
pierced  hands,  bleeding  feet  and  radiant  face.  Through 
out  the  whole  period  he  felt  in  himself  a  remarkable 
enrichment  of  that  sense  of  peace  and  happiness  which 
has  been  his  in  a  measure  ever  since  he  became  a  Chris- 


22  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

tian.  Indeed  so  great  was  this  sense  that  he  had  no 
temptation  whatever  to  give  up  the  fast.  As  his  physical 
powers  became  enfeebled  he  saw,  or  thought  he  saw,  a 
lion  or  other  wild  animal  and  heard  it  growl;  the  growl 
appeared  to  come  from  a  distance,  while  the  animal 
itself  seemed  to  be  near — hearing  apparently  being  more 
quickly  affected  than  sight.  Also  he  became  too  weak 
to  throw  aside  the  stones,  with  the  result  that  he  lost 
count  of  time,  and  is  quite  uncertain  how  many  days 
he  completed.  Two  wood-cutters  found  him  in  this  con 
dition  and  carried  him  in  his  blanket  to  Rishi  Kish  and 
then  to  Dehra  Dun.  He  remembers  being  at  the  time 
fully  conscious  of  what  was  happening,  though  he  had 
not  the  strength  to  speak. 

The  Sadhu  asserts  that  the  Fast  has  left  a  permanent 
effect  on  his  spiritual  life.  Certain  doubts  he  had  en 
tertained  were  finally  cleared  up.  Previously  he  had 
sometimes  wondered  whether  his  sense  of  peace  and  joy 
might  somehow  be  "a  hidden  power  of  his  own  life," 
welling  up  from  within  himself  and  not  due  to  the  Divine 
presence.  But  during  the  fast,  when  his  bodily  powers 
were  nil  or  almost  nil,  the  peace  increased  considerably 
and  became  much  stronger.  This  has  convinced  him 
that  this  peace  is  a  heaven-born  peace  and  not  the  result 
of  the  natural  operation  of  his  human  faculties.  An 
other  consequence  of  the  fast  was  the  conviction  that 
the  spirit  was  something  different  from  the  brain.  He 
had  been  used  to  wonder  what  would  become  of  his  spirit 
after  the  decay  of  his  body.  But,  since  during  the  fast 
he  found  that,  as  his  body  became  weaker,  his  spiritual 
faculties  seemed  to  become  more  active  and  alert,  he 
drew  the  inference  that  the  spirit  was  something  alto 
gether  apart  from  the  brain.  "The  brain  was  only  the 


THE  MAN  AND  HIS  MAKING  23 

office  where  the  Spirit  worked.  The  brain  is  like  an 
organ  and  the  spirit  like  the  organist  that  plays  on  it. 
Two  or  three  of  the  notes  may  go  wrong  and  may  pro 
duce  no  music.  That  does  not,  however,  imply  the 
absence  of  the  organist. ' ' 

The  Fast,  he  told  us,  also  left  a  permanent  influence 
on  his  character.  "Before  I  attempted  the  fast  of  forty 
days  I  was  frequently  assailed  by  temptations — when 
you  write  your  book  you  ought  to  write  about  my  weak 
nesses  also — more  especially,  when  I  was  tired,  I  used  to 
get  annoyed  when  people  came  to  talk  to  me  and  ask 
questions.  I  still  feel  this  difficulty,  but  nothing  like  so 
much  as  before  the  fast.  Indeed  I  have  been  told  by 
my  friends  that  it  is  not  noticeable — but  even  if  they 
are  right  it  is  still  a  weakness  which  I  do  not  like  to 
have  in  my  life.  It  has  caused  me  much  difficulty  and 
doubt  but  perhaps  it  is  given  me  to  keep  me  humble,  like 
the  thorn  in  the  flesh,  mentioned  by  St.  Paul,  which  I 
sometimes  think  may  have  been  the  same  thing.  Or  per 
haps  it  is  partly  the  result  of  still  living  in  the  body, 
but  I  wish  it  were  not  so.  Before  the  fast,  I  suffered 
also  from  other  temptations.  When  suffering  from  hun 
ger  and  thirst,  I  used  to  complain,  and  to  ask  why  the 
Lord  did  not  provide.  He  had  told  me  not  to  take  any 
money  with  me.  If  I  had  taken  money  I  could  have 
bought  what  I  needed.  Since  the  fast,  however,  when 
overtaken  by  physical  hardships,  I  say,  'It  is  my  Father's 
will,  perhaps  I  have  done  something  to  deserve  it.' 
Again  before  the  fast,  I  was  sometimes  tempted  to  give 
up  the  life  of  a  sadhu  with  its  hardships,  to  go  back  to 
the  luxury  of  my  father's  house,  to  get  married  and  live 
in  comfort.  Could  I  not  be  a  good  Christian  and  live  a 
life  of  communion  with  God  there  also?  But  then  I 


24  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

saw  that,  though  it  was  no  sin  for  others  to  live  in  com 
fort  and  have  money  and  home,  God's  call  for  me  was 
different;  and  the  gift  of  Ecstasy  which  he  had  given 
me  is  better  than  any  home.  Here  I  find  wonderful  joys 
which  transcend  all  others.  My  real  marriage  is  with 
Christ.  I  do  not  say  that  marriage  is  not  good  for  oth 
ers.  If  I  am  already  bound  to  Christ,  how  can  I  marry 
another  ? ' ' 

We  asked  whether  he  had  ever  fasted  since  for  shorter 
periods.  "I  have  been  forced  to  on  the  Himalayas," 
he  replied. 

"Have  you  found  this  kind  of  fasting  good  for  your 
spiritual  life?" 

"I  have  found  everything  to  be  of  use  to  me  in  my 
spiritual  life,  hunger  and  thirst,  as  well  as  other  things." 

The  Sadhu  made  it  clear  to  us  that  he  did  not  under 
take  the  Fast  with  a  view  to  inflict  upon  himself  suffer 
ing — that,  he  declared,  is  a  Hindu  idea.1  He  does  not 
intend  to  repeat  it;  nor  does  he  think  it  desirable  for 
every  Christian  to  attempt  it.  But  from  various  refer 
ences  he  made  to  it  we  drew  the  conclusion  that  it  was 
a  crisis  in  his  spiritual  development.  We  should  have 
been  tempted  to  describe  it,  in  the  technical  language  of 
mystical  theology,  as  the  transition  from  the  ''Illumina 
tive"  to  the  "Unitive"  stage;  but  the  very  slight  indi 
cations  of  anything  corresponding  to  the  intervening 
stage  known  as  the  "Dark  night  of  the  Soul" — a  point 
we  shall  return  to  in  a  later  chapter — would  make  the 
analogy  misleading.  Again,  if  it  were  legitimate  to 
exclude  the  Epistles  of  the  Captivity  from  a  characteri- 

i  It  is  only  fair  to  point  out  that  many  Hindus  regard  fasting 
less  as  an  ascetic  discipline  than  as  a  means  of  enhancing  spirit 
ual  perception. 


THE  MAN  AND  HIS  MAKING  25 

zation  of  St.  Paul,  we  might  speak  of  the  transition  as 
being  one  from  a  Pauline  to  a  Johannine  type  of  expe 
rience.  But  this  would  be  in  some  respects  equally  mis 
leading.  The  Sadhu 's  personality  is  sufficiently  indi 
vidual  to  have  marched  towards  maturity  along  individ 
ual  lines. 

The  period  that  followed  the  Fast  is  notable  as  one 
in  which  he  endured  an  extremity  of  persecution,  espe 
cially  in  Tibet;  and  also  experienced  some  remarkable 
deliverances  which  he  is  himself  inclined  to  regard  as 
most  probably  due  to  angelic  intervention.  With  some 
difficulty  the  Sadhu  was  induced,  at  a  small  gathering 
at  the  Pusey  House,  Oxford,  to  give  his  own  version  of 
one  of  the  most  striking  of  these  incidents.  We  quote 
the  story  as  given  by  Mrs.  Parker,  indicating  in  a  foot 
note  the  only  differences,  not  purely  verbal,  which  we 
have  noted  between  the  two  accounts. 

"At  a  town  called  Rasar  he  was  arrested  and  arraigned 
before  the  head  Lama  on  the  charge  of  entering  the 
country  and  preaching  the  Gospel  of  Christ.  He  was 
found  guilty,  and  amidst  a  crowd  of  evil-disposed  per 
sons  he  was  led  away  to  the  place  of  execution.  The 
two  favorite  forms  of  capital  punishment  are  being  sewn 
up  in  a  wet  yak  skin  and  put  out  in  the  sun  until  death 
ends  the  torment,  or  being  cast  in  the  depths  of  a  dry 
well,  the  top  being  firmly  fastened  over  the  head  of  the 
culprit.1  The  latter  was  chosen  for  the  Sadhu. 

"Arrived  at  the  place  he  was  stripped  of  his  clothes 

i  These  methods  are  an  ingenious  attempt  to  evade  the  Buddhist 
law  which  forbids  a  true  disciple  to  kill.  Similarly  in  Ceylon  I 
was  shown  the  precipice  over  which  condemned  criminals  were 
pushed  in  the  old  kingdom  of  Kandy — also  a  Buddhist  state. — 
B.  H.  8. 


26  SADHU  SUNDAE  SINGH 

and  cast  into  the  dark  depths  of  this  ghastly  charnel- 
house  with  such  violence  that  his  right  arm  was  injured. 
Many  others  had  gone  down  this  same  well  before  him 
never  to  return,  and  he  alighted  011  a  mass  of  human 
bones  and  rotting  flesh.  Any  death  seemed  preferable 
to  this.  Wherever  he  laid  his  hands  they  met  putrid 
flesh,  while  the  odor  almost  poisoned  him.  In  the  words 
of  his  Savior  he  cried,  'Why  hast  Thou  forsaken  me?' 

"Day  passed  into  night,  making  no  change  in  the 
darkness  of  this  awful  place  and  bringing  no  relief  by 
sleep.  Without  food  or  even  water  the  hours  grew 
into  days,  and  Sundar  felt  he  could  not  last  much  longer. 
On  the  third  night,  just  when  he  had  been  crying  to  God 
in  prayer,  he  heard  a  grating  sound  overhead.  Some 
one  was  opening  the  locked  lid  of  his  dismal  prison.  He 
heard  the  key  turned  and  the  rattle  of  the  iron  covering 
as  it  was  drawn  away.  Then  a  voice  reached  him  from 
the  top  of  the  well,  telling  him  to  take  hold  of  the  rope 
that  was  being  let  down  for  his  rescue.  As  the  rope 
reached  him  he  grasped  it  with  all  his  remaining  strength, 
and  was  strongly  but  gently  pulled  up  from  the  evil 
place  into  the  fresh  air  above. 

"Arrived  at  the  top  of  the  well  the  lid  was  drawn  over 
again  and  locked.  When  he  looked  round,  his  deliverer 
was  nowhere  to  be  seen,  but  the  pain  in  his  arm  was  gone 
and  the  clean  air  filled  him  with  new  life.  All  that  the 
Sadhu  felt  able  to  do  was  to  praise  God  for  his  wonder 
ful  deliverance,  and  when  morning  came  he  struggled 
back  to  the  town,  where  he  rested  in  the  serai  until  he 
was  able  to  start  preaching  again.  His  return  to  the 
city  and  his  old  work  was  cause  for  a  great  commotion. 
The  news  was  quickly  taken  to  the  Lama  that  the  man 
they  all  thought  dead  was  well  and  preaching  again. 


THE  MAN  AND  HIS  MAKING  27 

"The  Sadhu  was  again  arrested  and  brought  to  the 
judgment  seat  of  the  Lama,  and  being  questioned  as 
to  what  had  happened  he  told  the  story  of  his  marvelous 
escape.  The  Lama  was  greatly  angered,  declaring  that 
some  one  must  have  secured  the  key  and  gone  to  his 
rescue;  but  when  search  was  made  for  the  key  and  it 
was  found  on  his  own  girdle,  he  was  speechless  with 
amazement  and  fear.  He  then  ordered  Sundar  to  leave 
the  city  and  get  away  as  far  as  possible,  lest  his  powerful 
god  should  bring  some  untold  disaster  upon  himself  and 
his  people."1 

To  this  period  belong  two  incidents  which  have  ap 
pealed  to  the  popular  imagination. 

He  discovered  the  existence  of  a  Christian  brother 
hood,  said  to  number  24,000  members,  commonly  spoken 
of  as  the  " Secret  Sannyasi  Mission."  They  appear  to 
have,  along  with  much  that  is  genuinely  Christian,  some 
curious,  but— if  we  may  judge  from  those  which  have 
been  so  far  divulged— not  very  interesting  or  valuable, 
secret  doctrines  and  traditions.  The  Sadhu  has  con 
sorted  with  them,  as  with  all  sects  of  Christians,  in  a 
spirit  of  sympathy  and  brotherhood;  but  he  has  urged 
them  to  come  out  into  the  open.  To  his  mind  the  cour 
age  to  confess  Christ,  and  the  duty  to  bear  witness  to 
Him,  are  of  the  essence  of  true  Christianity. 

Later,  in  a  cave  13,000  feet  above  sea-level  on  the 
Kailash  range  of  the  Himalayas,  he  found  an  ancient 

i  Parker,  pp.  64  ft".  In  speaking  to  us  he  said  his  arm  was 
"struck  with  a  club  and  almost  broken"  before  he  was  thrown 
down;  also  the  rope  had  a  loop  at  the  end,  in  which  he  put  his 
foot,  otherwise  with  his  injured  arm  he  could  not  have  supported 
his  weight.  He  also  strongly  emphasized  the  fact  that,  along 
with  the  horror,  pain  and  despair,  he  felt  all  along  an  immense 
accession  of  inward  joy  and  peace. 


28  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

rishi  or  hermit— the  "Maharishi  of  Kailash."  The 
Rishi  gave  the  Sadhu  a  marvelous  account  of  his  own 
immense  age  and  wonderful  powers  and  adventures  and 
also  imparted  to  him  a  series  of  visions  of  an  apocalyptic 
character.  The  Sadhu  was  undoubtedly  impressed  by 
the  personality  and  communications  of  this  remarkable 
individual,  revisited  him  more  than  once,  and  reported 
what  he  had  seen  and  heard  to  many  people  in  India. 
Unfortunately,  but  perhaps  not  unnaturally,  popular 
interest,  attracted  by  the  more  bizarre  elements  in  the 
story,  has  concentrated  on  this  picturesque  hermit  in  a 
way  that  has  latterly  caused  some  embarrassment  to  the 
Sadhu,  who  is  frequently  bombarded  with  queries  about 
him  and  his  revelations.  ''People  have  made  too  much 
of  this  incident  in  my  life,"  he  said  to  us  in  Oxford, 
"the  Maharishi  is  a  man  of  prayer  and  I  have  a  great 
respect  for  him ;  but  my  work  is,  not  to  preach  the  Rishi, 
but  to  preach  Christ." 

We  have  spoken  of  this  period  in  the  life  of  the  Sadhu 
as  that  in  which  he  attained  to  spiritual  maturity — so 
far,  that  is  to  say,  as  such  a  thing  can  properly  be  said 
of  any  man  still  alive.  It  will  be  convenient,  therefore, 
to  call  attention  to  the  three  outstanding  features  of  his 
inward  life— his  Philosophy  of  the  Cross,  if  we  may  so 
name  his  characteristic  orientation  towards  suffering; 
the  ineffable  Peace  which  belongs  to  his  mystical  expe 
rience  of  the  presence  of  Christ;  his  times  of  Ecstasy. 
These,  though  all  present,  and  indeed  conspicuous,  before 
the  Fast,  appear  now  to  have  taken  on  an  enhanced  in 
tensity  and  persistency. 

Already  in  the  autumn  of  1906,  Mr.  Stokes  tells  how, 
when  he  was  tending  the  Sadhu  during  an  attack  of 
fever  combined  with  acute  pain  in  the  stomach,  he  heard 


THE  MAN  AND  HIS  MAKING  29 

him  murmur  below  his  breath,  "How  sweet  it  is  to  suffer 
for  His  sake."  The  notion  that  suffering  is  a  privilege, 
in  so  much  as  it  is  an  opportunity  of  sharing  an  expe 
rience  of  Christ  and  helping  on  His  work,  is  as  funda 
mental  to  the  Sadhu  as  it  is  to  St.  Paul.  There  is  no 
doubt  that  he  does  literally  rejoice  in  bearing  pain  for 
Christ's  sake.  For  this  reason  many  have  described  him 
as  an  Ascetic ;  but,  as  we  shall  see  later,  he  quite  definitely 
repudiates  the  ascetic  idea  as  ordinarily  understood. 
Suffering,  not  for  its  own  sake,  but  for  the  sake  of  Christ 
and  His  work,  is  what  he  loves. 

1  'There  is  nothing  like  the  Cross  in  all  heaven  or 
earth.  It  was  through  the  Cross  that  God  revealed  His 
love  for  man.  But  for  the  Cross  we  should  have  re 
mained  ignorant  of  the  Love  of  our  Heavenly  Father. 
For  this  reason  God  desires  that  all  His  children  should 
bear  this  heavy  but  'sweet'1  burden  of  the  Cross,  be 
cause  only  through  this  will  our  love  for  God,  and  His 
love  for  us,  be  revealed  to  others." 

"We  shall  never  get  a  second  opportunity  of  bearing 
the  Cross  after  our  life  on  earth;  for  we  shall  never 
return  to  this  life.  So  now  is  the  time  to  bear  the  Cross 
joyfully:  never  again  will  an  opportunity  be  given  us 
of  bearing  this  sweet  burden."  2 

"My  choice  is  to  work  in  poverty  and  simplicity.  If 
offered  an  archbishopric  I  should  decline." 

In  the  second  place,  we  must  notice  the  unutterable 
Peace,  "Heaven  on  earth,"  as  he  calls  it,  which  flows 

1  The  word  "sweet"  has  not  to  the  Sadhu  the  sentimental  con 
notation  it  has  in  modern   English;   both  thought  and  language 
are   influenced  by  the  Imitation.     Paradoxical  as  it  sounds  to 
the  ears  of  the  average  man  the  Sadhu  finds  an  almost  physical 
pleasure  in  suffering  in  Christ's  service. 

2  A.  Zahir,  Soul-Stirring  Messages,  p.  6. 


30  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

from  his  abiding  consciousness  of  the  presence  of  Christ 
as  solace,  as  companionship,  and  as  power.  It  is  this 
alone  which  enables  him  to  translate  his  Philosophy  of 
the  Cross  into  the  actualities  of  daily  life.  We  shall  at 
tempt  a  description  and  discussion  of  it  in  the  chapter 
entitled  "A  Mystic's  Peace."  In  the  present  context 
it  will  suffice  to  record  his  testimony  that  this  experience 
has  always  risen  to  a  peculiar  intensity  at  times  of  acute 
suffering  and  persecution.  He  told  us  that  he  especially 
remembered  the  intensified  Peace  of  the  time  he  spent 
awaiting  death  in  the  dry  well  in  Tibet,  and  on  another 
occasion,  which  we  shall  speak  of  later,  when  he  was 
compelled  to  spend  a  day  and  a  night  without  food  or 
water,  his  hands  and  feet  in  the  stocks,  and  his  naked 
body  covered  with  leeches  sucking  his  blood. 

Lastly,  there  are  his  times  of  Ecstasy,  which  since  the 
Fast  have  been  of  more  frequent  occurrence  and  have 
seemed  to  him  richer  in  content.  In  these,  as  he  believes, 
he  is  wrapped  up  like  St.  Paul  into  the  Third  Heaven, 
when  he  sees  and  hears  things  unutterable.  From  these 
he  derives,  not  only  spiritual  comfort  and  illumination, 
but  also  physical  refreshment  and  renewed  strength. 
They  are  described,  and  their  nature  and  value  is  dis 
cussed  in  two  later  chapters  of  this  book. 

"I  believe,"  said  the  Sadhu,  "that  a  life  of  prayer 
and  the  inner  peace  which  goes  with  the  Christian  life 
enable  one  to  a  large  extent  to  resist  disease  as  well  as  to 
endure  hunger  and  hardship.  I  was  surprised  when  I 
heard  that  some  of  the  Mystics  suffered  considerably  in 
their  physical  health." 

In  this  connection  the  experience  of  Mr.  Stokes  is 
worth  quoting.  "Before  going  to  India  I  was  not 
strong:  indeed  it  was  considered  questionable  whether 


THE  MAN  AND  HIS  MAKING  31 

I  could  live  in  the  Indian  climate  even  under  ordinary 
conditions.  After  going  to  India,  but  before  taking 
up  this  work,  I  had  a  very  bad  attack  of  typhoid  fever, 
with  relapses.  The  doctors — there  were  two  of  them — 
ordered  me  home,  and  assured  me  that  I  would  be  dead 
within  fourteen  months  if  I  did  not  obey  them.  Feel 
ing  that  I  could  not  leave  the  work,  I  remained,  and 
yet  I  lived  and  have  been  stronger  ever  since.  As  a 
matter  of  fact  it  seems  to  me  that  we  are  apt  to  conclude 
that  many  things  are  impossible  before  we  have  ever 
tested  their  possibility.  The  man  who  suffers  against  his 
will  speedily  becomes  a  physical  wreck ;  but  if  he  suffers 
of  his  own  free  will,  impelled  to  do  so  by  his  ideal,  there 
is  hardly  any  limit  to  his  powers  of  endurance.  This 
I  have  seen  in  Brother  Sundar  Singh  and  in  Hindu 
bhagats,  and  know  from  what  I  have  myself  undergone. 
The  ideal  makes  the  suffering  entailed  by  living  up  to  it 
a  privilege.  At  home  I  was  placed  by  my  doctor  on  a 
diet-list,  but  as  a  Friar  I  have  often  eaten  food  which 
some  Indians  are  afraid  to  touch.  ...  A  man's  strength 
is  commensurate  with  the  work  God  gives  him  to  do  and 
his  purpose  and  enthusiasm  in  undertaking  it. "  * 

WORLD  FAME 
1918-1920 

The  Sadhu's  visit  to  Madras  early  in  1918  begins  a 
new  epoch  in  his  life,  marking  as  it  does  the  transition 
from  a  position  of  obscurity  to  one  of  world-wide  reputa 
tion.  In  South  India  the  fame  of  his  activities  in  the 
North  had  preceded  him.  Thousands  flocked  to  hear 
him.  Among  Christians  wherever  he  went  a  wave  of 

i  S.  E.  Stokes,  op.  cit.  p.  19. 


32  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

spiritual  awakening  followed.  Non-Christians  also  were 
affected,  and  in  one  place  alone  no  less  than  nineteen 
were  converted. 

In  this  connection  we  may  note  the  fact  that  in  spite 
of  repeated  requests  the  Sadhu  always  declines  to  bap 
tize  converts.  He  always  refers  them  to  the  regular 
ministers  of  the  particular  denomination  which  has  work 
on  the  spot,  His  own  father  about  this  time  decided  to 
become  a  Christian.  "You  have  opened  my  spiritual 
eyes,7'  he  said,  "so  you  must  baptize  me."  "If  I  bap 
tize  you,"  replied  the  Sadhu,  "there  are  hundreds  of 
others  whom  I  must  baptize.  My  work  is  not  to  bap 
tize,  but  to  preach  the  Gospel. " 

The  Sadhu,  no  doubt,  recognizes  the  desirability  that 
baptism  should  be  preceded  by  a  longer  course  of  in 
struction  than  could  be  given  by  a  wandering  preacher, 
and  also  sees  the  necessity  to  the  average  convert,  unless 
he  is  shortly  to  relapse  into  his  old  state,  of  a  direct 
affiliation  to  a  definite  Christian  community.  But  the 
refusal  himself  to  perform  the  rite  of  baptism  is  prob 
ably  due,  at  least  in  part,  to  a  well-founded  apprehension 
that  the  uneducated  convert  might  attribute  some  specific 
virtue  to  his  personal  action.  The  Hindu  readily  at 
tributes  supernatural  powers  to  a  "holy  man,"  fears 
his  curse  or  implores  his  blessing  as  potencies  inherent 
in  the  man  himself.  Any  such  reputation  for  powers 
personal  to  himself  the  Sadhu  is  above  all  anxious  to 
avoid. 

We  asked  him  once  whether  he  had  ever  tried  spiritual 
healing.  "Yes,"  he  said,  "but  I  gave  it  up  because  I 
found  it  made  people  look  to  me  and  not  to  Christ,  and 
that  is  a  cross  I  cannot  bear.  In  Ceylon  the  son  of  a 
Christian  gentleman  was  dying,  and  the  doctors  had 


THE  MAN  AND  HIS  MAKING  33 

given  him  up.  The  mother  besought  me  to  come  and 
lay  my  hands  on  him  and  pray  for  him.  I  said,  'There 
is  no  power  in  these  hands,  only  in  the  pierced  hands 
of  Christ/  At  last  I  consented  to  go  and  see  him  in 
the  hospital  and  prayed  for  him  and  put  my  hand  upon 
his  head.  Three  days  later  I  saw  the  boy  sitting  with 
his  mother  in  the  back  seat  at  a  meeting  I  was  address 
ing.  Then  I  found  that,  however  much  I  impressed  upon 
people  that  it  was  not  my  personal  power  that  had 
effected  the  cure,  but  the  power  of  Christ  in  answer  to 
prayer,  they  insisted  on  looking  upon  me  as  a  wonder 
worker;  and  I  saw  that  I  must  not  do  this  again,  as  it 
would  encourage  superstition  and  distract  attention  from 
the  Gospel  I  have  to  preach." 

Sundar's  aliveness  to  the  evil  consequence  of  purely 
personal  notoriety  may  be  further  illustrated  by  a  fact 
told  us  by  a  lady  missionary.  On  the  first  occasion  that 
he  visited  the  town  in  Northern  India  where  she  worked 
he  mentioned  in  his  addresses,  as  he  often  does  by  way 
of  illustrating  the  lesson  he  is  enforcing,  some  of  the 
remarkable,  and,  in  his  own  view,  supernatural,  deliver 
ances  which  he  has  experienced.  The  Indian  Christians 
of  the  place  talked  of  nothing  else  for  weeks.  Three  or 
four  years  later  he  visited  the  same  city,  but  this  time 
he  did  not  mention  a  single  incident  of  this  character. 

His  preaching  tour  through  the  South  of  India  and 

Cfeylon  was  followed  by  a  similar  visit  to  many  of  the 

hief  towns  in   Burma,   the   Federated   Malay   States, 

China  and  Japan,  after  which  he  returned  to  spend  the 

summer  at  his  usual  mission  work  in  Tibet. 

In  January,  1920,  he  took  ship  for  England.  His  de 
sire  had  been  to  visit  Palestine,  but  he  could  not  obtain 
a  passport ;  he  left  India,  however,  with  the  hope  that 


34  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

on  his  way  back  from  England  he  might  be  able  to  do 
so.  In  May  he  left  England  for  the  United  States.  He 
was  invited  to  visit  Sweden,  France  and  Switzerland  on 
his  return  to  England,  but  ultimately  accepted  an  invi 
tation  to  go  to  Australia  instead,  and  thence  back  to 
India. 

His  principle  of  travelling  from  place  to  place  with  no 
money  or  other  provision  for  the  morrow,  trusting  that 
whatever  is  needful  the  Lord  will  provide,  he  still 
adhered  to  strictly.  To  one  who  raised  a  doubt  whether 
this  side  of  the  ' ' Sadhu-ideal' '  was  practicable  in  the 
West,  he  replied,  "God  is  the  same  God  in  the  East  and 
in  the  West."  And  as  a  matter  of  fact  no  difficulty 
has  occurred.  His  passage  to  England  was  paid  by  his 
father,  who,  as  we  have  mentioned,  had  lately  become 
reconciled  to  him ;  and  in  England  and  America  friends 
have  naturally  found  small  difficulty  in  securing  hos 
pitality  for  so  remarkable  a  personage.  His  host,  on 
seeing  him  off  at  the  station,  hands  him  a  ticket  to  his 
next  destination.  For  major  expenses,  like  his  passage 
to  America,  contributions  were  collected  by  friends. 

In  visiting  the  West  Sundar  had  more  than  one  object. 
He  wished  to  investigate  for  himself  the  truth  in  the 
statement  made  to  him  in  India  by  non- Christians  that 
the  West  is  immoral  and  that  Christianity  has  ceased 
there  to  be  a  living  force;  he  hoped  to  hold  converse 
there  with  "godly  men";  and  he  felt  called  himself 
there  also  to  bear  witness  to  the  power  of  Christ. 

The  visit  has  been  well  worth  while.  Supporters  of 
missions  have  felt  great  encouragement,  seeing  in  him 
a  conspicuous  evidence  of  the  Divine  benediction  on 
their  prayers  and  labor  in  past  years.  Many  others  have 
found  inspiration  in  listening  to  his  fresh  and  vivid 


THE  MAN  AND  HIS  MAKING  35 

presentation  of  religion,  and  not  a  few  think  of  their 
personal  contact  with  him  as  a  turning-point  in  their 
lives.  Perhaps,  too,  the  effect  of  this  visit  to  the  West 
in  broadening  his  own  outlook  and  enlarging  his  own 
experience  may  not  be  inconsiderable  nor  without  influ 
ence  on  the  future  development  of  Christianity  in  India. 

In  the  streets  of  a  Western  city  the  saffron  robe  and 
turban  are  conspicuous.  But  anywhere  he  is  a  figure 
to  attract  attention.  Erect,  somewhat  above  middle 
height,  with  black  hair  and  beard,  light  olive  complexion, 
a  Syrian-looking  face  with  soft  dark  eyes,  his  calm  of 
mien  and  bearing  and  firm  peaceful  dignity  of  stride 
make  him,  even  apart  from  robe  and  turban,  look,  as 
some  one  put  it,  "as  if  he  had  stepped  straight  out  from 
the  pages  of  the  Bible."  The  story  is  told  that  once, 
when  calling  at  a  certain  house,  the  door  was  opened  to 
him  by  a  little  maid  fresh  from  a  distant  country  vil 
lage.  He  gave  the  name  "Sadhu  Sundar  Singh."  She 
rushed  off  to  her  mistress.  * '  There 's  some  one  wants  to 
see  you,  ma'am.  I  can't  make  anything  of  his  name. 
But  he  looks  as  if  it  might  be  Jesus  Christ." 

Being  naturally  of  a  retiring  disposition,  he  frequently 
in  public  places  wears  a  raincoat  over  his  robe  to  avoid 
attracting  notice.  When  possible  he  shuns  buses  or 
crowded  trains,  preferring  to  walk  or,  on  occasion,  to 
go  by  cab.  Nevertheless  he  always  takes  in  good  part 
the  way  in  which  he  and  his  unfamiliar  garb  are  stared 
at;  and  he  is  never  in  the  least  put  out  by  the  vociferous 
and  sometimes  none  too  courteous  attentions  of  children 
in  the  streets.  When  at  Birmingham,  he  was  taken  to 
see  over  Cadbury's  Chocolate  Works.  Asked  afterwards 
how  he  had  enjoyed  what  he  had  seen,  "I  enjoyed  my 
self,"  he  said,  "but  I  think  the  girls  and  men  working  in 


36  SADIIU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

the  factory  enjoyed  themselves  more  looking  at  me." 
"You  ought  to  have  charged  them  something  for  it," 
put  in  a  friend.  "Yes,  yes,"  said  the  Sadhu,  smiling, 
"but  then  they  gave  me  so  much  chocolate  I  could  not 
eat  my  dinner  that  day."  Such  flashes  of  humor  are 
not  infrequent  with  him ;  and,  like  the  Mediaeval  Saints, 
he  disregards  at  times  conventional  reverences.  After 
an  ascent  of  the  Eiffel  Tower  with  its  three  floors  he 
remarked,  "You  can  say  now  that  you  have  been  to  the 
third  heaven,  like  St.  Paul." 

People  who  invite  the  Sadhu  to  a  meal  will  often  in 
quire  beforehand  whether  he  has  any  restrictions  as  to 
food.  He  has  none.  "Anything  at  any  time"  is  the 
principle  he  often  reaffirms.  He  is  equally  ready  to  sit 
down  to  a  good  dinner,  well  served  and  well  appointed, 
or  to  eat  the  plainest  fare,  or,  if  necessary,  to  do  without. 
And  if  coffee  or  sweets  are  offered  to  the  company  he 
does  not  disdain  them. 

"England  is  not  cold  enough  for  me,"  was  his  re 
mark  to  some  who  were  afraid  that  in  his  thin  clothes 
he  would  feel  the  rigors  of  the  climate.  Tibet  has  inured 
him  to  extreme  cold.  Once  he  remarked  that  he  would 
not  wear  even  sandals — in  India  he  never  does  so — but 
that  friends  had  suggested  to  him  that  in  English  houses 
ladies  might  be  solicitous  about  carpets  and  the  dirt 
which,  if  he  walked  barefoot,  he  might  bring  in.  Ac 
cordingly  he  wore  sandals  in  the  streets,  but  usually,  in 
oriental  fashion,  slipped  them  off  when  entering  a  room. 

Affectionate  to  friends,  courteous  and  considerate  to 
all,  a  lover  of  animals — we  marked  how  almost  tenderly 
he  stroked  a  little  dog  that  craved  his  notice — he  struck 
every  one  who  met  him  as  the  embodiment  of  peace,  gen 
tleness  and  loving-kindness. 


THE  MAN  AND  HIS  MAKING  37 

To  awake  suddenly  and  find  oneself  a  "star  turn"  in 
London  or  New  York  is  an  experience  that  may  easily 
demoralize  even  those  who  know  enough  of  Western  civ 
ilization  to  discount  and  assign  to  its  proper  value  the 
quality  and  depth  of  the  popular  enthusiasm  it  implies. 
Not  a  few  of  the  Sadhu's  well-wishers  naturally,  but,  as 
we  believe,  quite  unnecessarily,  felt  some  apprehension 
that,  to  use  a  current  phrase,  he  might  "be  spoiled. " 

The  adulation  of  the  Church  may  be  harder  to  with 
stand  than  the  hostility  of  the  World.  But  the  Sadhu 
is  not  ignorant  of  the  human  soul.  "We  must  follow 
Christ  with  our  eyes  steadily  fixed  on  him,  but  with 
both  our  ears  closed.  For  on  the  one  side  we  may  hear 
flattering  remarks  which  might  make  us  proud;  on  the 
other  side  we  may  hear  criticism  or  slander  which  might 
make  us  despond."  "People  write  about  me,"  he  said 
to  Baron  von  Hugel,  "but  they  don't  point  out  my  de 
fects,  so  that  I  may  remedy  them."  The  fact  that  Mrs. 
Parker's  book  was  on  sale  at  a  certain  shop  was  once 
mentioned  in  his  presence.  "It  is  not  good,"  he  said, 
"that  a  man's  biography  should  be  written  in  his  life 
time."  Indeed,  it  was  only  on  the  express  understand 
ing  that  this  book  of  ours  was  to  be,  not  another  biog 
raphy,  but  an  attempt  to  interpret  his  message  to  the 
West,  and  so  perhaps  do  something  in  the  way  of  fol 
lowing  up  his  preaching,  that  he  consented  to  provide 
us  with  materials  for  the  undertaking. 

The  bustle  and  roar  of  life  in  Western  cities  visibly 
jarred  upon  and  wearied  one  constitutionally  a  lover  of 
outdoor  nature  and  of  the  contemplative  life.  Even  in 
India  he  dislikes  large  towns.  He  always  feels  the  spirit 
of  evil  to  be  peculiarly  powerful  there.  "To  go  into 
big  towns  is  always  against  my  desire,  and  I  have  to 


38  SADHU  SUNDAE  SINGH 

constrain  myself  to  do  so,  but  I  was  told  once  in  an 
Ecstasy  that  the  present  life  is  the  only  opportunity  that 
will  be  given  me  for  helping  others  in  this  world.  That 
is  a  privilege  which  even  Angels  are  not  allowed.  We 
shall  have  Heaven  for  ever,  but  we  have  only  a  short 
time  for  service  here,  and  therefore  must  not  waste  the 
one  opportunity.  I  know  why  hermits  prefer  to  live  in 
caves  and  mountains.  I  much  prefer  it  myself." 

At  table,  in  Oxford,  some  one  asked  him  point-blank 
what  he  thought  of  English  Christianity  and  English 
life.  He  clearly  found  a  difficulty  in  expressing  his 
views  in  a  way  that  would  not  seem  discourteous  to  his 
hosts,  saying  he  had  not  seen  enough  as  yet  to  enable 
him  to  give  an  opinion,  but  that  it  seemed  to  him  too 
little  was  made  of  the  aspect  of  religion  as  peace  of  soul. 
"Spiritual  things  cannot  be  discerned  without  quiet  and 
meditation";  then,  perfectly  naturally,  he  fell  into  a 
discourse  on  the  Peace  of  God  and  the  lack  of  it  in  Eng 
lish  life  and  in  English  religion,  which  none  of  those 
who  heard  it  will  soon  forget. 

A  letter  of  the  Sadhu's  to  a  friend  in  India  is  more 
explicit.  "Many  people  are  surprised  to  see  me  in  my 
simple  dress  with  no  socks  or  boots  on  my  feet.  But  I 
told  them  that  I  love  simplicity  and  that  wherever  I 
go  I  want  to  live  in  the  same  way  as  I  live  in  India,  not 
changing  my  color  like  a  chameleon.  I  have  been  in 
England  only  two  weeks  and  so  cannot  speak  with  much 
confidence  of  my  impressions.  But  I  feel  that,  just  as 
the  Sun  is  seldom  to  be  seen  on  account  of  fogs  and  mist, 
so  the  Sun  of  Righteousness  is  almost  always  hidden  by 
the  fogs  and  mist  of  materialism.  .  .  .  Many  people, 
especially  those  who  have  received  blessing  from  the 


THE  MAN  AND  HIS  MAKING  39 

meetings,  tell  me  that  more  missionaries  from  India  are 
needed. ' ' 

On  the  other  hand,  he  told  an  Indian  friend  that,  in 
spite  of  the  English  people  being  so  materialistic,'  he 
had  found  many  spiritual  people  among  them.  And  he 
expressed  a  very  definite  dissent  from  the  suggestion 
that  India  had  no  more  to  learn  from  Western  mission 
aries.  Indeed  he  regarded  the  missionary  interest  and 
activity  as  the  most  vitalizing  force  in  Western  Chris 
tianity. 

In  America  this  two-sided  impression  of  the  West 
seems  to  have  deepened— at  least  he  gave  it  a  more  public 
expression.  "Christ  would  say  here,  'Come  unto  me 
all  ye  that  are  heavy  gold-laden,  and  I  will  give  you 
rest.'  "Still  God's  people  are  all  over  the  world,  and 
He  has  His  own  witnesses  in  the  West  also." 

In  America,  as  in  England,  wherever  he  went,  he  was 
received  with  enthusiasm,  and,  as  the  result  of  prac 
tice,  it  became  less  and  less  difficult  for  him  to  address 
large  audiences  in  the  English  language.  He  appreciated 
the  welcome,  he  formed  friendships,  and  he  had  reason 
to  believe  that  his  message  was  not  delivered  in  vain. 
Yet  those  with  whom  he  was  most  intimate  felt  that  he 
was  not  quite  happy  in  the  West,  and  saw  him  growing 
day  by  day  more  restive  for  the  calm  of  the  Himalayas 
and  the  severe  simplicity  of  an  Indian  sadlm's  life. 


II 

A  MYSTIC'S  CREED 
A  CHRISTOCENTRIC  MYSTICISM 

IT  has  been  remarked  of  St.  Paul  that  he  was  one  of  the 
world's  great  mystics,  but  that,  in  contrast  to  those  who 
aspire  to  union  with  the  Absolute  or  with  Infinite  Reality, 
his  is  a  mysticism  centered  in  Christ.  So  it  is  with  the 
Sadhu.  In  Ecstasy  in  every  vision  Christ  is  the  center 
of  the  scene.  In  ordinary  life  whenever,  among  friends, 
he  speaks  of  Christ,  the  love-light  beams  from  his  eyes 
and  his  face  is  transfigured — as  sometimes  in  supreme 
moments  a  woman's  is,  gazing  on  her  beloved.  Seeing 
him  one  knows  why  a  Christian  has  been  defined  as  one 
"who  has  fallen  in  love  with  Christ." 

Once  grasp  the  Christocentric  character  of  his  mystic 
ism,  and  you  have  the  key  to  the  understanding  of  his 
teaching,  his  character  and  his  whole  way  of  life.1  The 
Divine,  apprehended  in  and  as  the  Eternal  Christ,  elicits 
in  him  a  passion  and  a  devotion  not  possible  to  the  mystic 
to  whose  imagination  absolute  Reality  takes  on  a  less 
vividly  concrete  and  personal  form.  That  is  why  he  is 
a  missionary,  although  his  own  natural  bent  would  be 
towards  the  hermit's  life  of  contemplation  in  solitary 
mountain  caves.  The  love  of  Christ  constrains  him. 

i  Of  course  all  specifically  Christian  mysticism  is  directed 
towards  Christ,  but  the  influence  of  Neo-Platonism  has  often 
given  it  a  metaphysical  direction  foreign  to  the  direct,  concrete 
simplicity  of  conception  in  mystics  like  St.  Francis,  Mother 
Juliana,  or  the  Sadhu. 

40 


A  MYSTIC'S  CREED  41 

"Lovest  thou  me  more  than  these?"  .  .  .  "Feed  my 
lambs."  That,  too,  is  the  reason  why  he  so  often  urges 
that  religion  is  not  of  the  head  but  of  the  heart — not 
metaphysical  comprehension  but  personal  devotion,  not 
the  Vision  of  Reality  but  the  love  of  One  who  saves. 
And  it  is  mainly  because  of  this  that  we  have  ventured 
to  assert  that  some  who  have  known  the  Sadhu  feel  that 
they  understand  the  better  the  inner  life  of  two  greater 
men,  St.  Francis  and  St.  Paul. 

We  quote  an  article  dictated  by  him,  when,  having 
seen  with  his  own  eyes  London,  Oxford,  and  Paris — fa 
mous  cities  symbolizing  to  his  mind  "Western  thought 
and  civilization  in  its  diverse  aspects — he  summed  up 
for  a  Western  magazine1  what  he  felt  to  be  his  special 
message.  If  only  we  had  it  in  his  native  tongue  it 
would  read  like  a  hymn  in  prose  form. 

"Christ  is  my  Savior.  He  is  my  life.  He  is  every 
thing  to  me  in  heaven  and  earth.  Once  while  traveling  in 
a  sandy  region  I  was  tired  and  thirsty.  Standing  on  the 
top  of  a  mound  I  looked  for  water.  The  sight  of  a  lake  at 
a  distance  brought  joy  to  me,  for  now  I  hoped  to  quench 
my  thirst.  I  walked  toward  it  for  a  long  time,  but  I 
could  never  reach  it.  Afterwards  I  found  out  that  it 
was  a  mirage,  only  a  mere  appearance  of  water  caused 
by  the  refracted  rays  of  the  sun.  In  reality  there  was 
none.  In  a  like  manner  I  was  moving  about  the  world 
in  search  of  the  water  of  life.  The  things  of  this  world 
—wealth,  position,  honor  and  luxury — looked  like  a  lake 
by  drinking  of  whose  waters  I  hoped  to  quench  my 
spiritual  thirst.  But  I  could  never  find  a  drop  of  water 
to  quench  the  thirst  of  my  heart.  I  was  dying  of  thirst. 
When  my  spiritual  eyes  were  opened  I  saw  the  rivers 

iCf.  The  Foreign  Field,  June,   1920. 


42  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

of  living  water  flowing  from  His  pierced  side.  I  drank 
of  it  and  was  satisfied.  Thirst  was  no  more.  Ever  since 
I  have  always  drunk  of  that  water  of  life,  and  have 
never  been  athirst  in  the  sandy  desert  of  this  world. 
My  heart  is  full  of  praise. 

"His  presence  gives  me  a  Peace  which  passeth  all 
understanding,  no  matter  in  what  circumstances  I  am 
placed.  Amidst  persecution  I  have  found  peace,  joy 
and  happiness.  Nothing  can  take  away  the  joy  I  have 
found  in  my  Savior.  In  home  He  was  there.  In  prison 
He  was  there.  In  Him  the  prison  was  transformed  into 
Heaven,  and  the  cross  into  a  source  of  blessing.  To 
follow  Him  and  bear  His  cross  is  so  sweet  and  precious 
that,  if  I  find  no  cross  to  bear  in  Heaven,  I  shall  plead 
before  Him  to  send  me  as  His  missionary,  if  need  be  to 
Hell,  so  that  there  at  least  I  may  have  the  opportunity 
to  bear  His  cross.  His  presence  will  change  even  Hell 
into  Heaven.  As  the  dumb  man  cannot  express  the 
sweetness  of  sweetmeats,  even  so  a  saved  sinner  cannot 
express  the  sweetness  of  His  presence  in  his  heart.  Only 
a  heavenly  language  can  give  adequate  expression  to  this 
heavenly  Peace.  Even  though  I  am  in  the  midst  of  dan 
ger,  temptation,  sin  and  sorrow  of  this  world,  through 
Him  who  gave  His  life  I  am  saved.  The  sea  is  salty  and 
the  fish  lives  all  its  life  in  it.  But  it  never  gets  salty, 
because  it  has  life.  Even  so  if  we  receive  life  from  Him, 
though  in  the  world,  we>  are  not  of  the  world.  Not  only 
here,  but  also  in  Heaven  we  shall  find  ourselves  in  Him. 

' '  Now  I  have  no  desire  for  wealth,  position  and  honor. 
Nor  do  I  desire  even  Heaven.  But  I  need  Him  who  has 
made  my  heart  Heaven.  His  infinite  love  has  expelled 
the  love  of  all  other  things.  Many  Christians  cannot 
realize  His  precious,  life-giving  presence,  because  for 


A  MYSTIC'S  CREED  43 

them  Christ  lives  in  their  heads  or  in  their  Bibles,  not  in 
their  hearts.  Only  when  a  man  gives  his  heart  shall  he 
find  Him.  The  heart  is  the  throne  for  the  King  of  Kings. 
The  capital  of  Heaven  is  the  heart  where  that  King 
reigns." 

Obviously  the  man  who  can  speak  and  feel  like  this 
has  little  need  of  a  systematical  theology  with  all  its  meta 
physical  implications  carefully  thought  out.  Besides,  he 
thinks  in  pictures.  For  him  an  analogy  or  illustration 
is  not  merely  a  means  to  establish  an  argument ;  it  is 
often  the  argument  itself.  He  does  not  state  a  general 
principle  and  then  buttress  it  with  illustration.  He  puts 
first  the  illustrations  and  then  draws  out  the  general 
principles  implied  in  them.  Nor  does  he  seek  afterwards 
to  coordinate  these  general  principles.  The  illustrations 
stand  out  vivid  and  striking;  but  no  pains  are  taken  to 
present  them  so  as  to  cohere  into  a  system,  even  though 
the  thought  which  they  illustrate  has  an  inner  coherence 
of  its  own.  And  the  teaching  of  the  Sadhu  has  such  co 
herence  ;  not  because  he  aims  at  system,  but  because  his 
teaching  is  the  spontaneous  expression  of  prolonged  med 
itation  on  the  New  Testament  by  a  man  whose  own  per 
sonality  has  attained  to  inward  unity. 

But  precisely  because  the  Sadhu  is  not  a  systematic 
theologian  but  a  man  who  thinks  in  pictures,  it  will  be 
of  considerable  interest  to  see  the  vivid  and  effective  way 
in  which  the  cardinal  doctrines  of  Christianity  present 
themselves  to  his  mind.  What  we  shall  find  is,  in  effect, 
the  Johannine  theology  translated  into  parable. 

THE  TRINITY — A  VISION 

"At  one  time  I  was  a  good  deal  perplexed  about  the 
doctrine  of  the  Trinity.  I  had  thought  of  three  separate 


44  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

Persons  sitting  as  it  were  on  three  thrones  but  it  was  all 
made  plain  to  me  in  a  Vision.  I  entered  in  an  Ecstasy 
into  the  third  heaven.  I  was  told  that  it  was  the  same 
to  which  St.  Paul  was  caught  up.  And  there  I  saw 
Christ  in  a  glorious  spiritual  body  sitting  on  a  throne. 
Whenever  I  go  there  it  is  the  same.  Christ  is  always 
in  the  center,  a  figure  ineffable  and  indescribable.  His 
face  shining  like  the  sun,  but  in  no  way  dazzling,  and  so 
sweet  that  without  any  difficulty  I  can  gaze  at  it — always 
smiling  a  loving  glorious  smile.  I  felt  when  first  I  saw 
Him  as  if  there  were  some  old  and  forgotten  connection 
between  us,  as  though  He  had  said,  but  not  in  words, 
'I  am  He,  through  whom  you  were  created/  I  felt 
something  the  same,  only  far  more  intensely,  as  I  felt 
when  I  met  my  father  again  after  an  interval  of  many 
years.  My  old  love  came  back  to  me ;  I  knew  I  had  been 
his  before. 

'  *  The  first  time  I  entered  Heaven  I  looked  round  about 
and  I  asked,  'But  where  is  God?'  And  they  told  me, 
'God  is  not  to  be  seen  here  any  more  than  on  earth,  for 
God  is  Infinite.  But  there  is  Christ,  He  is  God,  He  is 
the  Image  of  the  Invisible  God,  and  it  is  only  in  Him 
that  we  can  see  God,  in  Heaven  as  on  earth.'  And 
streaming  out  from  Christ  I  saw,  as  it  were,  waves  shin 
ing  and  peace-giving,  and  going  through  and  among 
the  Saints  and  Angels,  and  everywhere  bringing  refresh 
ment,  just  as  in  hot  weather  water  refreshes  trees.  And 
this  I  understood  to  be  the  Holy  Spirit. ' ' x 

THE  INCARNATION 
1  'The  Word  of  Life  was  made  flesh;  the  Word  came 

i  Elsewhere,  it  is  clear  that  the  Sadhu  does  not  conceive  the 
Spirit  as  impersonal. 


A  MYSTIC'S  CREED  45 

into  flesh.  I  used  to  think :  Where  is  the  need  that  God 
should  become  incarnate  and  take  the  form  of  man? 
When  I  was  not  a  Christian  I  used  to  criticize  this  doc 
trine.  There  are  many  thousands  who  do  not  find  any 
intellectual  difficulty  in  believing  in  the  Incarnation  but 
who  yet  cannot  understand  its  need.  Often,  however, 
they  find  in  their  hearts  a  great  desire  to  see  God ;  man 
has  a  natural  desire  to  see  God.  We  want  to  see  Him 
whom  we  are  trying  to  worship;  but  He  is  infinite.  I 
say  to  idol  worshipers:  'Why  do  you  worship  these 
idols?'  They  say,  'God  is  infinite  and  these  idols  are 
only  meant  to  help  us  concentrate  our  minds ;  by  means 
of  these  symbols  we  can  worship,  we  can  understand 
something.'  Him  we  love  we  want  to  talk  to,  we  want 
to  see  Him.  The  difficulty  is,  we  cannot  see  God  be 
cause  He  is  infinite.  If  ever  some  time  we  should  be 
come  infinite,  we  may  then  see  the  infinite  God.  Here 
and  now  we  are  unable  to  see  Him,  our  Creator,  our 
Father,  the  Giver  of  Life.  That  is  why  He  became  in 
carnate.  He  took  human  form,  limited  form,  that  in 
this  way  men  might  see  Him." 

In  the  address  in  Balliol  College  Hall,  from  the  open 
ing  words  of  which  the  preceding  paragraph  is  taken, 
there  followed  two  homely  illustrations  from  Indian  life. 

"When  I  was  in  the  Himalayas  once  I  wanted  to 
cross  the  River  Sutlej,  but  there  was  no  bridge.  I  could 
not  swim  over.  I  was  thinking  of  what  I  should  do 
when  I  saw  a  man  and  I  said  to  him:  'I  would  like  to 
go  to  the  other  side  of  the  river  but  there  is  no  bridge 
or  boat.'  He  said,  'That  is  all  right,  air  will  take  you 
over.'  I  was  surprised.  I  could  breathe  air,  but  air 
could  not  bear  me  up  and  take  me  to  the  other  side. 
But  he  took  a  skin  and  filled  it  with  air,  and  then  asked 


46  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

me  to  support  myself  on  it.  I  did  so  and  got  safely 
across.  As  the  air  could  only  carry  me  by  being  con 
fined  in  the  skin,  so  God  to  help  man  had  to  become  in 
carnate.  The  Word  of  Life  was  made  flesh.  He  will 
carry  those  who  want  to  cross  the  river  of  this  world  to 
heaven.  'He  that  hath  seen  Me  hath  seen  the  Father.' 
We  can  see  the  living  Father  in  that  Incarnation  of 
Jesus  Christ. 

"On  another  occasion,  I  remember,  in  Kashmir,  there 
was  a  man  who  owned  several  hundred  sheep.  His 
servants  used  to  take  these  sheep  out  for  feeding,  and 
each  evening  as  they  brought  them  back  they  found  two 
or  three  missing.  He  asked  his  servants  to  go  and  look 
for  them,  but  for  fear  of  wild  beasts  they  did  not  trouble 
themselves  about  them.  The  owner  had  a  love  for  them 
and  wanted  to  save  them.  'If  I  go  myself  searching 
for  these  sheep  they  will  not  recognize  me,  as  they  have 
not  seen  me  before.  They  would  recognize  my  servants 
but  the  servants  will  not  go.  So  I  must  become  like  a 
sheep/  He  took  a  sheep's  skin  and  put  it  on  himself 
and  looked  like  a  sheep.  He  went  out  and  found  some 
that  had  gone  astray  and  some  that  had  been  wounded. 
They  readily  followed  him  thinking  that  he  was  a  sheep 
like  one  of  themselves.1  He  brought  them  in  and  sat 
with  them  and  fed  them.  When  he  had  saved  all  the 

i  The  Sadhu  said  this  actually  occurred.  A  shepherd  whom 
I  consulted  told  me  he  could  quite  believe  it,  as  it  is  a  regular 
practice,  if  a  lamb  dies,  to  tie  a  strip  of  its  wool  on  to  another 
lamb — whose  dam  is  dead  or  has  too  many  lambs  to  suckle — and 
the  ewe  takes  it  at  once.  Recognition  and  the  feeling  of 
familiarity  is  with  animals  as  much  a  matter  of  smell  as  of  sight. 
Crossing  the  Sutlej  by  water-skin  is  not  unusual.  Cf.  Auto 
biography  of  Devendranath  Tagore,  p.  257. — B.  IT.  S. 


A  MYSTIC'S  CREED  47 

sheep  and  brought  them  home,  then  he  took  off  the  sheep 
skin.  He  was  not  sheep  but  man.  He  became  a  sheep 
in  order  to  save  those  lost  sheep.  So  God  is  not  mau, 
He  became  man  in  order  to  save  men." 

In  the  Tamil  addresses  we  find  this  parable. 

"There  was  a  King.  His  Grand  Vizier  was  a  learned 
and  saintly  man.  When  traveling  in  Palestine,  the 
Vizier  was  deeply  moved  as  he  heard  about  Christ  and 
became  a  Christian.  When  he  returned  home  he  told 
the  people  that  he  was  a  Christian  and  that  he  believed 
in  the  Savior  who  came  to  this  world  to  save  sinners. 
The  King  said  to  him:  'If  I  want  anything  to  be  done, 
I  tell  my  servant  and  it  is  done.  Then  why  should  the 
King  of  Kings  who  is  able  to  save  men  by  a  word  come 
to  this  world  Himself  and  become  incarnate?'  The 
Vizier  asked  for  a  day  of  grace  before  giving  his  answer 
to  the  question.  He  sent  for  a  skilled  carpenter  and 
asked  him  to  make  a  doll  and  dress  it  up  exactly  like 
the  one-year-old  son  of  the  King  and  to  bring  it  to  him 
the  next  day.  The  next  day  the  King  and  his  Minister 
were  in  a  boat  together  and  the  King  asked  him  for  an 
answer  to  his  question.  At  the  same  time  the  carpenter 
came  and  stood  on  the  shore  with  his  doll.  The  King 
stretched  out  his  arm  to  receive  the  child  who,  he  thought, 
was  his  own  child.  According  to  instructions  previously 
given  by  the  Vizier,  the  carpenter  let  the  doll  fall  into 
the  water.  The  King  at  once  jumped  into  the  water  to 
rescue  the  drowning  child.  After  a  while  the  Vizier 
said:  '0  King,  you  needed  not  to  leap  into  the  water. 
Was  it  not  enough  to  bid  me  do  it?  Why  should  you 
yourself  jump  in?'  The  King  reflected:  'It  was  a 
father's  love.'  The  Vizier  said:  'Love  was  also  the 


48  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

reason  why  in  order  to  save  the  world  the  all-powerful 
God  became  incarnate  instead  of  doing  it  by  His  mere 
word.7  " 

THE  ATONEMENT 

One  day  we  asked  the  Sadhu  how  he  understood  the 
language  of  the  New  Testament  about  our  being  saved 
by  the  blood  of  Christ.  He  replied  with  a  story. 
"Once,  in  Burma,  preaching  the  Gospel  of  Christ,  I 
said, 'He  died  to  save  sinners.'  ' How ?'  they  said.  But 
there  was  a  young  man  present  who  said,  *  It  is  true. '  I 
thought  this  man  must  be  a  Christian,  but  when  I  spoke 
to  him  he  said  he  had  never  heard  of  Christ.  He  said, 
1  It  is  quite  true.  By  the  death  of  this  Man  others  could 
be  saved.'  I  said,  'How?'  He  said,  'By  the  death  of 
my  father  I  have  been  saved.  One  day  on  these  moun 
tains  I  slipped  and  fell  down  and  lost  my  blood  through 
the  wound.  When  my  father  heard  about  it  he  took 
me  to  the  hospital. 

*  "He  is  at  the  point  of  death,"  said  the  doctor. 

1  "He  is  my  only  son,"  said  my  father. 

'  "It  is  impossible  to  save  him,  his  life  is  going.  He 
has  lost  too  much  blood — nothing  can  be  done,"  con 
tinued  the  doctor. 

'  "If  there  is  anything  that  can  be  done  I  am  willing  to 
do  it,"  said  my  father. 

'  "If  anybody  is  willing  to  give  his  blood  I  can  save 
him,"  said  the  doctor. 

'  "I  am  willing  to  give  my  life  and  blood,"  said  my 
father. 

'It  was  done,  I  lived  and  my  father  died,  and  by  the 
death  of  my  father  I  have  been  saved.' 

"Just  so,"  continued  the  Sadhu,  "I  had  fallen  on 


A  MYSTIC'S  CREED  49 

the  mountain;  I  had  lost  my  spiritual  blood.  Life  had 
gone  and  I  was  on  the  point  of  death.  The  Savior  in 
jected  His  own  blood  into  me — He  poured  out  His  life 
and  I  was  saved.  Those  who  are  willing  to  give  their 
hearts  will  understand  how  true  it  is  that  by  the  death 
of  Jesus  Christ  they  can  be  saved.  I  have  found  it  to 
be  true  in  my  experience.  If  you  want  to  save  life  you 
have  to  give  life." 

A  most  quaint  illustration  followed  which,  we  under 
stood  him  to  say,  was  communicated  to  him  in  a  vision. 
"There  was  a  case  in  South  India  where,  under  similar 
circumstances,  the  blood  of  a  cat  was  introduced  into  a 
man 's  veins,  with  the  result  that  he  subsequently  showed 
many  of  the  qualities  of  the  cat,  such  as  spitefulness. 
This  illustrates  the  way  in  which  the  infusion  of  life 
from  another  being  can  change  the  character  of  the 
person  into  whom  it  is  infused." 

"They  told  me  also  in  the  same  vision  that  it  is  only 
by  being  grafted  into  Christ  that  we  produce  good  fruit. 
Other  religions  say,  'Do  good  and  you  will  become  good.' 
Christianity  says,  'Be  in  Christ,  and  you  will  do  good/ 
The  meaning  of  the  Atonement  and  the  Blood  that 
washes  away  our  sins  is  that  we  are  grafted  into  Christ, 
I  in  Him,  and  He  in  me.  It  is  a  bitter  sprig  which  is 
grafted  into  the  tree,  but,  once  it  is  grafted  in,  the  sweet 
juice  of  the  tree  flows  through  the  bitter  sprig  and  makes 
it  sweet." 

The  preceding  illustrations  are  along  the  line  of  the 
conception  so  prominent  in  St.  John's  Gospel  that  salva 
tion  is  by  participation  in  the  divine  life.  The  parable 
which  follows  illustrates  the  somewhat  different  concep 
tion  of  ransom  applied  in  the  Gospels  to  the  death  of 
Christ. 


50  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

"Two  young  men  were  gambling.  It  was  a  law  of 
their  land  that  those  who  gambled  were  liable  to  a  fine 
of  five  hundred  rupees.  The  Government  officers  found 
them  gambling  and  made  them  prisoners.  Of  these  two, 
one  was  the  son  of  a  wealthy  man;  the  other  was  the 
son  of  a  poor  peasant.  Five  hundred  rupees  were  im 
mediately  paid  for  the  wealthy  boy — he  was  released  from 
prison.  What  could  the  poor  boy  do?  As  he  could 
not  pay  the  fine,  he  remained  in  prison.  To  get  enough 
money  to  pay  the  fine,  his  mother  toiled  all  day  long, 
carrying  stones.  Stones  would  fall  upon  her  hands  and 
cut  her  and  make  the  blood  flow.  Through  the  window 
of  his  prison  the  young  man  saw  his  mother's  hands 
and  asked:  'Mother,  what  is  this  wound  in  your  hand? 
What  is  this  blood  on  your  finger ? '  'I  am  working  like 
this  to  save  you/  said  the  mother,  and  explained  in 
detail  the  work  she  did.  At  last  she  saved  five  hundred 
rupees  and  freed  her  son  from  the  prison.  Then  one  day 
the  rich  young  man  saw  him  and  invited  him  to  a  game 
of  dice.  'I  can  never  do  that  hereafter.  Your  release 
came  easily,  but  I  was  saved  by  my  mother's  hard  work, 
by  her  toil,  by  the  wounds  on  her  body,  by  her  blood. 
In  the  future  I  shall  not  even  look  at  this  game  which 
has  brought  such  suffering  to  my  mother.'  Those  who, 
like  the  rich  young  man,  think  that  salvation  from  sin 
will  come  easily  have  no  strength  to  abandon  sin.  But 
those  who  realize  that  God  became  incarnate  and  shed 
His  precious  blood  to  save  us  from  our  sins,  will  not  like 
to  commit  the  sin  which  gives  such  suffering  to  their 
God." 

Here  is  a  parable  suggesting  rather  the  Abelardian 
conception  of  the  appeal  of  self-sacrificing  love.  "There 
was  a  young  man  who  led  a  bad  life,  he  rebelled  against 


A  MYSTIC'S  CREED  51 

his  father  and  ran  away  from  home,  and  finally  joined  a 
gang  of  dacoits.  At  home  he  had  a  brother  who  loved 
him  very  much.  His  father  expressed  the  wish,  if  it 
were  possible,  to  convey  to  the  erring  brother  his  will 
ingness  to  forgive  him.  Nobody  ventured  on  account 
of  the  danger  of  the  jungle.  At  last  the  brother  offered 
to  do  so,  and  the  father  gave  him  as  message  the  fact  of 
his  continued  love  for  his  erring  child,  and  also  sent  him 
some  presents  to  convince  him  of  his  fatherly  love  and 
goodwill.  On  the  way  he  fell  into  the  hands  of  dacoits, 
who  robbed  him  of  the  money  and  valuables,  and  mortally 
wounded  him.  He  said  to  them,  'I  don't  mind  your 
seizing  all  I  have;  only  take  me  to  your  leader,'  which 
they  did.  His  brother  recognized  him  by  his  voice,  and 
when  he  saw  his  wounds  he  was  'smitten  to  the  heart.' 
'I  have,'  said  the  wounded  brother,  'brought  you  a  mes 
sage  from  your  father ;  he  loves  you  still ;  he  has  never 
ceased  to  love  you;  if  you  return  now,  he  will  forgive 
you.  This  is  the  object  of  my  coming,  and  now  I  am 
prepared  to  die. '  And  so  he  gave  his  life  for  his  brother. 
The  dacoit  repented  and  went  back  to  his  father,  and 
ever  remembered  and  mourned  over  the  brother  who 
had  given  his  life  for  him.  So  has  Jesus  done  for  us. 
Many  do  not  understand  all  that  this  means  for  us.  Has 
it  really  got  as  far  as  your  hearts  yet  ? " 

St.  Paul's  metaphor  of  "the  wall  of  partition"  has 
evidently  suggested  thje  following: 

"Some  time  ago  I  saw  on  the  Himalayas  two  villages 
that  had  been  separated  by  a  very  high  and  inaccessible 
mountain.  The  direct  distance  from  one  village  to  the 
other  was  not  great,  but  as  travelers  had  to  go  round 
the  mountain,  walking  over  it  being  impossible,  the 
journey  took  a  week.  A  man  lived  in  one  of  those  vil- 


52  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

lages  who  resolved  that,  if  a  road  could  not  be  made 
over  the  mountain,  then  it  ought  to  be  made  through  it. 
He  resolved  to  lay  down  even  his  life  in  an  attempt  to 
cut  a  way  through.  He  set  to  work;  but,  alas,  before 
it  was  finished  he  was  killed.  He  laid  down  his  life  in 
an  attempt  to  unite  the  two  villages.  I  thought  of  this 
as  an  illustration  of  the  wall  of  sin,  and  of  how  Jesus 
Christ  has  made  a  way  through  it  by  giving  His  life — 
as  St.  Paul  says,  'Ye  who  were  sometimes  afar  off  are 
made  nigh  by  the  blood  of  Christ'." 

The  idea  of  the  death  of  Christ  as  being  merely  or 
mainly  a  propitiatory  sacrifice  seems  not  to  occur  in  the 
Sadhu's  preaching;  or,  if  it  does,  to  have  little  organic 
connection  with  his  deepest  thought  on  the  subject.  To 
him  Hell  and  Judgment  await  the  unrepentant  as  the 
result  of  an  automatic  internal  process,  they  are  not  an 
expression  of  the  Divine  wrath.  For  he  thinks  of  God 
only  in  terms  of  Christ  and  "Jesus  Christ  is  never  an 
noyed  with  any  one. ' ' 

MYSTICAL  UNION  WITH  CHRIST 

"India,"  reiterates  the  Sadhu  with  passionate  con 
viction,  "has  no  need  of  missionaries  to  teach  a  Christ 
who  is  merely  a  great  moral  teacher  and  not  also  the 
Lord  of  life."  To  most  of  us  the  name  Christ  suggests 
primarily  the  historic  Jesus — in  and  through  whom  we 
see,  as  it  were,  the  face  of  God  invisible.  But  in  all  ages 
the  Christocentric  Mystic  is  one  who  thinks  first  of  an 
Eternal  Divine  Being  whom  now  he  knows  and  loves, 
and  only  in  the  second  place  of  the  Man  who  ate  and 
drank  and  taught  in  Galilee. 

"There  are  those  who  speak  of  Christ  as  the  Supreme 


A  MYSTIC'S  CREED  53 

Mystic;  what,"  he  was  asked,  " would  you  say  to  that?" 
"That  is  the  tendency  of  those  who  are  not  inclined  to 
accept  the  divinity  of  Christ.  Christ  is  not  the  supreme 
mystic;  He  is  the  Master  of  mystics,  the  Savior  of 
mystics." 

"Christ  is  not  only  an  historical  figure  but  one  who 
lives  and  works  to-day.  He  lives  not  merely  in  the  Bible 
but  in  our  hearts."  "An  Indian  Christian,  who  had 
traveled  widely,  said  once:  'I  saw  Muhammad's  tomb. 
It  was  very  splendid,  decorated  with  diamonds  and  all 
manner  of  precious  things.  And  they  told  me:  'Here 
are  Muhammad's  bones/  I  saw  Napoleon's  tomb  and 
they  said:  'Here  are  Napoleon's1  bones.'  But  when  I 
saw  Christ's  tomb,  it  was  open.  No  bones  lay  there.' 
Christ  is  the  Living  Christ.  The  tomb  has  been  open 
thus  for  nearly  two  thousand  years.  My  heart  is  also 
open  to  the  Lord.  He  lives  in  me.  He  is  the  living 
Christ  because  He  lives  in  the  lives  of  Christians.  Real 
Christians  are  not  those  who  profess,  but  those  who 
possess,  Christ. 

"Some  say  that  salvation  consists  in  being  absorbed 
in  God.  We  Christians  say  that  to  live  in  Christ  is  al 
ready  heaven.  We  are  to  live  in  Him  and  He  in  us. 
How  can  this  be?  When  a  ball  of  iron  is  thrown  into 

i  When  in  Paris  the  Sadhu,  who  ordinarily  has  little  taste  for 
sightseeing,  showed  a  special  anxiety  to  see  the  tomb  of  Napoleon, 
but  twice  found  the  chapel  closed,  and  he  inquired  assiduously 
whether  and  how  his  body  and  bones  had  come  from  St.  Helena. 
This  interest  in  Napoleon,  of  which  there  is  other  evidence,  is 
probably  due  mainly  to  his  reflections  on  the  contrast  which 
Napoleon  himself  drew  between  the  empires  founded  by  Alex 
ander,  Caesar  and  himself,  which  were  founded  on  force  and  there 
fore  perished,  and  the  empire  of  Christ,  which,  being  founded  on 
love,  is  imperishable. 


54  SADHU  SUNDAE  SINGH 

the  fire  it  becomes  red-hot.  The  iron  is  in  the  fire  and 
the  fire  is  in  the  iron,  and  yet  the  iron  is  not  the  fire 
and  the  fire  is  not  the  iron.  In  the  same  way  we  live  in 
Christ  and  He  lives  in  us  and  yet  we  do  not  become  gods. 

"  Consider  the  air  we  breathe.  The  air  is  our  life, 
yet  man  is  not  the  air,  nor  the  air  man.  In  like  manner 
we  breathe  God's  spirit,  but  we  are  not  God.  Just  as 
we  draw  in  the  air  by  breathing,  we  can  inhale  the 
Blessed  Spirit  by  prayer.  Not  only  do  we  draw  near  to 
God,  but  we  are  united  with  Him.  This  is  not  only 
union  but  life,  and  when  we  have  this  life  we  see  the 
marvelous  love  of  God. 

''The  planets  have  no  light  in  themselves.  They  shine 
with  light  which  they  have  borrowed  from  the  sun. 
Christians  are  like  them.  In  themselves  they  have  no 
light,  but  they  shine  with  light  borrowed  from  the  Sun 
of  Righteousness. 

"The  Church  is  called  'the  body  of  Christ'  because 
the  relation  between  Christ  and  Christians  is  not  that 
between  a  master  and  his  servants.  It  is  more  than  that. 
Christians  are  Christ's  own  parts.  They  are  not  only 
friends  of  Christ,  they  are  Christ  Himself.  He  breathes 
through  them. 

"Christ  is  always  present  in  the  Church,  but  unseen. 
Wherever  men  feel  in  their  hearts  a  feeling  of  rever 
ence,  this  is  a  dim  recognition  of  His  presence.  But 
Christ  never  interferes  with  our  freedom  so  as  to  compel 
us  to  feel  His  presence.  He  allows  us  to  do  so  according 
to  our  capacity.  Indeed  He  never  interferes  with  us 
here  in  any  way  by  compulsion,  only  by  attraction. 

"We  see  medicine  for  the  eye.  We  see  it  so  long  as 
it  is  before  us.  But  when  it  is  dropped  in  the  eye,  it 
cools  the  eye  and  cleanses  it,  but  we  cannot  see  it  with 


A  MYSTIC'S  CREED  55 

the  eye.  In  the  same  way  we  cannot  see  the  Savior 
who  cleanses  our  heart  and  makes  it  rejoice  with  His 
presence. 

"The  Christian  has  eternal  life  because  the  God  to 
whom  he  is  united  is  Eternal." 


Ill 

A  MYSTIC'S  PEACE 
THE  PEACE  OF  GOD 

To  have  spent  an  hour  with  Sundar  Singh  is  to  have 
received  an  unforgettable  impression  of  calm  and  joy. 
"The  peace  of  God"  shines  in  his  face  and  seems  by 
his  mere  presence  to  be  diffused  around.  To  him  Heaven 
has  already  begun  on  earth;  and  he  would  have  it  so 
for  others  also.  It  was,  he  believes,  of  this  experience 
that  St.  Paul  spoke  (Eph.  ii.  6),  "He  made  us  to  sit 
with  him  in  heavenly  places,  in  Christ  Jesus."  The  ex 
istence  of  this  Peace,  this  "Heaven  on  earth,"  and  the 
possibility  of  attaining  it,  are  to  the  Sadhu  of  the  es 
sence  of  the  Christian  message.  And  potentially  it  is 
a  gospel  for  all  men.  A  sentence  by  Miss  Evelyn  Under 
bill x  would  exactly  express  his  attitude:  "Without  be 
ing  geographers  we  can  enter  into  the  spirit  of  land 
scape,  and  without  being  philosophers  or  theologians  we 
can  enter  into  Heaven,  if  we  start  in  the  right  direction ; 
for  Heaven  is  a  Temper,  most  simply  understood  as 
awareness  of  the  indwelling  Christ." 

This  Peace  took  hold  of  him  from  the  moment  of  his 
conversion.  "When  I  was  converted  by  the  vision  of 
Christ  a  power  like  electricity  entered  my  soul  and  took 
possession  of  it."  He  naturally  expected  to  find  other 
Christians  enjoying  this  Peace,  and  not  merely  that  but 

i  Cf.   Church  Congress  Addresses,   1920. 
56 


A  MYSTIC'S  PEACE  57 

being  transformed  by  its  influence.  His  expectations 
were  not  fulfilled.  "Have  you  been  disappointed  with 
Christians?"  "Yes,"  said  the  Sadhu,  "I  was  at  first. 
I  had  thought  they  must  be  wonderful  if  they  possessed 
this  wonderful  peace."  But  long  ago  he  has  discovered 
that  Christians  as  well  as  others  need  to  learn  its  secret. 
"It  is  a  wonderful  peace.  I  wish  I  could  show  you  this 
peace.  It  is  impossible,  because  people  cannot  see  that 
wonderful  peace.  "We  cannot  tell  others:  there  are  no 
words  to  express  that  peace,  but  those  who  have  had  their 
spiritual  eyes  opened  can  understand  it."  The  in 
adequacy  of  his  knowledge  of  the  English  language, 
about  which  he  often  speaks,  is  not  the  difficulty  here. 
"I  have  no  words,  even  in  my  own  language,  to  express 
that  wonderful  peace."  "It  is  not  the  sort  of  thing  you 
can  show  others:  it  is  a  hidden  peace."  But  what  mystic 
ever  has  found  language  adequate  to  describe  experience? 
Indeed,  William  James  would  make  "ineffability"  one 
of  the  four  characteristic  marks  of  mysticism.1 

The  Sadhu  constantly  emphasizes  how  entirely  differ 
ent  are  the  peace  and  joy  of  which  he  speaks  from  the 
enjoyments  of  wealth  and  home  in  his  younger  days. 
"The  luxuries  of  home  could  not  give  me  that  peace." 
"My  soul  is  like  an  ocean.  On  the  surface  there  may 
be  waves  and  tempests,  but  deep  down  there  is  undis 
turbed  calm."  When  he  sees  the  sin  and  suffering  of 
men  he  is  sore  troubled,  but  in  the  depths  of  his  nature 
Peace  still  remains.  During  his  early  years  as  a  Chris 
tian  he  was  so  struck  by  the  unusual  character  of  this 
peace  that  he  thought  it  might  be,  to  quote  his  own 
somewhat  obscure  expression,  "some  hidden  power  of 
his  life" — meaning,  no  doubt,  some  undetected  physio- 
1  Cf.  Varieties  of  Religious  Experience,  p.  380. 


58  SADHU  SUNDAE  SINGH 

logical  or  psychological  idiosyncrasy  in  his  constitution ; 
or,  again,  that  it  might  be  in  some  unexplained  way  the 
effect  of  self -hypnotism.  One  result,  as  we  have  seen, 
of  the  great  Fast  was  to  clear  away  this  doubt  and  to 
convince  him  that  it  was  a  peace  born  of  heaven. 

But  this  Peace  is  a  thing  which,  though  hard  to  ex 
plain,  it  is  possible  to  attain.  "This  world  is  full  of 
sorrow ;  our  body  is  the  abode  of  misery.  This  being  so, 
many  argue  that  so  long  as  we  are  in  this  world  pos 
sessed  of  this  body  heavenly  joy  is  impossible.  Once 
on  the  Himalayas  I  said  to  another  traveler,  'Here  are 
some  hot  springs.'  He  thought  I  was  mad  and  said, 
*  It  is  a  lie  to  say  that  in  this  cold  place  where  even  water 
freezes  there  are  hot  springs/  I  took  hold  of  him  and 
led  him  and  made  him  dip  his  hand  in  a  certain  spring. 
Then  by  means  of  personal  experience  he  realized  the 
truth  of  what  I  had  said.  Then  he  tried  to  offer  a  sci 
entific  reason  for  the  fact.  In  the  same  way,  only  by 
personal  experience  can  we  know  that  even  in  this  world 
full  of  sorrow  we  can  have  a  heavenly  joy/'  "I  met 
a  man  in  Tibet  who  was  a  wonderful  man.  He  showed 
me  his  scars  when  he  took  off  his  clothes.  He  said  he 
was  so  happy  in  being  persecuted  for  Christ 's  sake ;  and 
he  told  me  the  story  of  his  conversion.  'When  I  first 
saw  a  man  martyred/  he  said,  'it  made  me  think  over 
these  spiritual  things.  He  was  being  tortured  to  death 
by  being  exposed  to  the  sun  sewn  up  into  a  wet  yak's 
skin,  and  as  I  saw  him  I  thought,  "What  is  that  thing 
in  his  life  that  makes  him  so  happy?"  The  Lama  said, 
"There  must  be  an  evil  spirit  in  him."  "If  an  evil  spirit 
can  give  such  a  wonderful  thing,"  I  said,  "I  pray  to  God 
to  give  me  that  same  evil  spirit.  It  made  me  think 
about  it  and  I  became  a  Christian.  The  martyr's  name 


A  MYSTIC'S  PEACE  59 

was  Kartar  Singh.  He  showed  such  wonderful  peace 
and  joy  in  the  midst  of  torture  that  his  persecutors  cut 
out  his  heart  to  find  the  exact  nature  of  that  peace,  but 
they  found  only  a  piece  of  flesh.'  ! 

Christians  who  do  not  appropriate  to  themselves  this 
wonderful  treasure  of  peace  and  joy  which  is  within 
their  reach  are  like  a  beggar  whom  the  Sadhu  heard  of 
in  Nepal  some  years  ago.  '  *  The  man  had  been  a  beggar 
for  twenty-one  years.  His  ambition  had  been  to  become 
a  rich  man  and  yet  he  had  died  poor.  After  his  death 
it  was  discovered  that  under  the  spot  where  he  had  sat 
and  begged  for  twenty-one  years  was  a  buried  treasure, 
containing  jewels  and  other  valuables  which  had  be 
longed  formerly  to  a  king.  The  beggar  had  not  been 
aware  of  the  endless  riches  over  which  he  had  been  sit 
ting.  Even  so  there  are  many  Christians  who  go  through 
life  without  enjoying  the  peace  and  happiness  which  are 
accessible  to  them  in  Christ  Jesus. 

"  People  who  have  received  that  peace  and  joy  and 
happiness  do  not  need  to  be  told  to  go  and  tell  others; 
they  cannot  keep  quiet.  There  are  many  Christians  to 
whom  I  say,  'Why  don't  you  go  and  tell  of  Jesus  Christ 
to  others?  If  you  have  seen  something,  you  cannot  keep 
quiet." 

The  terms  " peace,'*  "joy"  and  ''happiness,"  used 
by  the  Sadhu  when  speaking  in  English  about  the  nature 
of  this  experience,  are  not,  we  elicited  by  a  question,  in 
tended  to  express  three  different  kinds  of  feeling.  In 
the  Tamil  addresses  only  two,  peace  and  joy,  are  men 
tioned.  What  he  speaks  of  is  a  single  movement  of  the 
soul,  combining  in  ineffable  harmony  a  calm,  profound 
and  indisturbable,  which  he  names  "Peace,"  and  a  rad 
iant  fullness  of  life  and  light  which  he  calls  "Joy,"  and 


60  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

which  is  to  him  not  only  the  evidence,  but  the  actuality, 
of  personal  union  with  Christ. 

An  especially  interesting  characteristic  of  this 
" Peace"  is  that  it  is  for  him  a  condition  of  intellectual 
illumination  and  the  faculty  of  insight  into  spiritual 
problems.  "Would  you  say,  Sadhuji,"  we  said  to  him 
one  day,  "that  this  peace  which  you  have  is  the  same 
as  that  which  St.  Paul  describes  as  the  peace  which 
passeth  all  understanding?"  "Yes,"  he  replied,  "it 
is  a  peace  which  not  merely  passeth  all  understanding 
but  which  enlighteneth  all  understanding." 

THE  PHILOSOPHY  OF  THE  CROSS 

His  Peace — and  perhaps  this  is  its  most  notable  fea 
ture—not  merely  abides  with  him  in  moments  of  com 
parative  ease  and  comfort,  but  becomes  most  intense 
amidst  suffering  and  persecution.  "What  is  the  use," 
says  he,  "of  a  religion  which  does  not  help  us  under 
trying  circumstances?" 

On  one  occasion  we  asked  whether  his  peculiar  expe 
rience  of  Peace  had  thrown  light  for  him  on  anything 
in  the  Bible.  He  at  once  quoted,  "I  am  filled  with  com 
fort,  I  am  exceeding  joyful  in  all  our  tribulations"  (II 
Cor.  vii.  4). 

Sometimes,  under  the  sternest  circumstances,  Peace 
has  been  raised  to  the  pitch  of  exultation.  This  may  be 
illustrated  by  an  adventure,  already  cursorily  alluded 
to,  which  he  related  when  in  Oxford.  At  a  certain  town 
he  was  ordered,  under  pain  of  heavy  punishment,  to  give 
up  preaching.  He  disregarded  the  threat,  with  the  re 
sult  that  he  was  seized  and  cast  into  the  common  prison 
along  with  a  number  of  murderers  and  thieves.  In  such 


A  MYSTIC'S  PEACE  61 

company  and  in  the  horrible  surroundings  of  an  eastern 
prison  he  wrote  in  the  fly-leaf  of  his  New  Testament, 
"Christ's  presence  has  turned  my  prison  into  a  blessed 
heaven:  what  then  will  it  do  in  heaven  hereafter?"  He 
started  preaching  to  his  fellow-prisoners  and  many  heard 
him  gladly  and  began  to  turn  towards  the  Christ  he 
preached.  The  authorities,  hearing  of  this,  took  him  out 
of  the  prison  and  brought  him  to  the  market-place  for 
punishment.  He  was  stripped  and  was  forced  to  sit 
on  the  ground  all  that  day  and  the  following  night  with 
out  anything  to  eat  or  drink;  his  feet  and  hands  fixed 
in  a  kind  of  stocks,  and  leeches  were  thrown  upon  his 
naked  body.  A  mocking  crowd  stood  round  enjoying 
the  spectacle.  When  the  authorities  saw  him  the  follow 
ing  morning,  still  alive  and  bearing  a  calm  face,  they 
were  afraid  that  he  was  possessed  of  some  supernatural 
power  and  let  him  go.  He  fell  down  unconscious,  but 
after  a  while  came  to  himself  and  with  the  greatest  dif 
ficulty  crawled  away  and  found  friends,  secretly  Chris 
tian,  who  nursed  him  back  to  strength.  But  all  the 
while,  he  assured  us,  he  enjoyed  an  experience  of  in 
tense  inward  Peace.  And  Mrs.  Parker  records  that,  in 
telling  this  same  story  to  her,  he  added,  "I  do  not  know 
how  it  was,  but  my  heart  was  so  full  of  joy  that  I  could 
not  help  singing  and  preaching. M1 

This  last  incident  makes  it  clear  that  the  real  mean 
ing  of  the  Sadhu's  Peace  cannot  be  seen  except  in  its 
relation  to  his  Philosophy  of  the  Cross.  Between  re 
nunciation  and  satisfaction  there  is  a  psychological  con 
nection  which  is  conditioned  by  something  in  the  funda 
mental  constitution  of  human  nature.  This  shows  itself 
in  every  act  of  choice.  Choice  at  its  lowest  level  pre- 

iCf.   Parker,  p.   55. 


62  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

sents  the  problem,  "You  cannot  both  have  your  cake 
and  eat  it";  but  until  we  have  made  the  decision  with 
pleasure  to  renounce — a  decision  always  irksome  to  un 
redeemed  humanity — disquiet  reigns  within.  At  a 
higher  level  than  this,  the  experience  of  life  has  taught 
most  of  us  that  peace  of  mind  can  be  bought  only  at  the 
price  of  some  renunciations.  Only  when  some  alterna 
tives  have  been  resolutely  excluded — always  a  painful 
process, — and  the  whole  self  thus  directed  along  one 
straight,  high  road  of  thought  or  action,  is  inner  con 
flict  ended.  It  was  of  this  world,  not — at  any  rate,  not 
in  the  first  instance — of  the  next,  that  the  words  were 
spoken.  "Straight  is  the  gate  and  narrow  is  the  way 
that  leadeth  unto  life."  Renunciation,  however,  so  long 
as  it  is  felt  as  such,  involves  in  itself  an  element  of  inner 
conflict.  But  remember,  the  Sadhu  is  a  Christocentric 
Mystic;  realize  that  to  him,  as  to  St.  Francis  or  St. 
Paul,  partnership  with  Christ  is  a  passion  and  a  priv 
ilege,  and  therefore  transforms  labor,  hardship,  loss, 
from  something  which  is  to  be  accepted  negatively  as 
an  unfortunate  necessity,  into  something  positively  to 
be  welcomed  for  His  sake — and  you  will  understand  a 
little  of  the  secret  of  the  Sadhu 's  Peace.  Si  crucem 
portas  portabit  te,  "Bear  the  cross  and  it  will  b^r  thee." 
It  is  of  his  Heaven  on  earth  that  he  speaks  when,  re 
calling  this  passage  of  the  Imitation,  he  says:  "From 
my  fourteen  years'  experience  of  life  as  a  sadhu  for 
Jesus  Christ  I  can  say  with  confidence  that  the  Cross 
will  bear  those  who  bear  the  Cross  until  it  lifts  them 
up  to  Heaven  into  the  presence  of  the  Savior." 

The  Sadhu  has  an  enthusiasm,  one  can  only  call  it 
that,  for  suffering — not,  like  the  Ascetic,  for  its  own 
sake,  nor  for  the  sake  of  any  spiritual  profit  he  may 


A  MYSTIC'S  PEACE  63 

hope  to  gain  from  it,  but  in  the  service,  in  the  steps,  in 
the  companionship  of  the  Beloved.  This  explains  at 
once  the  intense  interest  he  takes  in  anything  connected 
with  martyrs  and  martyrdom.  Like  many  of  the  early 
Christians  he  would  himself  prefer  a  martyr's  end.  But 
he  longs,  not  only  for  the  joy  of  sharing  with  Christ  the 
extremity  of  persecution,  but  also  for  the  opportunity 
of  " bearing  witness"  to  His  power  and  for  His  cause. 
The  latter  motive  is  shown  by  a  remark  of  his  that  once, 
when  bound  to  a  tree  in  an  uninhabited  forest  and  left 
to  die — until  released  in  what  he  regards  as  a  miracul 
ous  manner — he  was  only  sorry  that  he  was  going  to 
perish  in  a  way  which  would  prevent  his  death  being  an 
act  of  public  witness  for  Christ.  The  importance  he  at 
taches  to  what  one  might  call  the  "propaganda  value" 
of  martyrdom — and  did  not  "martyr"  originally  mean 
just  "testifier"? — is  in  a  line  with  his  doctrine  that  suf 
fering  is  not  a  thing  to  be  sought  for  its  own  sake,  as 
the  typical  ascetic  thinks,  but  to  be  welcomed  when  it 
comes  in  the  way  of,  or  as  a  means  of  service  to,  the 
cause  of  Christ. 

In  Paris,  when  asked  what  sights  he  would  like  to 
see,  he  said,  "Things  connected  with  martyrs  and  the 
religious  life  of  the  country."  He  passed  rapidly 
through  the  Louvre,  but  was  attracted  specially  by  a 
picture  of  St.  Sebastian  pierced  by  arrows.  He  after 
wards  described  that  as  the  best  picture  in  the  Louvre. 
Part  of  the  attraction  of  Tibet  as  his  special  mission-field 
is,  as  we  have  already  noticed,  the  possibility  of  suffering 
and  martyrdom — Tibet  being  a  closed  land  to  the  mis 
sionary,  unless,  like  the  Sadhu,  he  is  prepared  to  brave 
martyrdom  at  any  moment.  In  his  addresses  he  fre 
quently  tells  of  the  suffering  of  martyrs,  especially  of 


64  SADHU  SUNDAE  SINGH 

pioneers  of  the  Gospel  whom  he  has  met  or  heard  of  in 
Tibet,  The  fact  that  he  anticipates  the  possibility  of  a 
similar  fate,  and  aspires  to  meet  it  with  the  same  heroic 
calm  and  exuberance  of  supernatural  joy,  gives  a  per 
sonal  significance  to  a  story  like  the  following. 

"There  was  a  Christian  in  Tibet.  When  he  preached 
the  Gospel  the  people  treated  him  with  contumely.  But, 
undaunted  by  the  persecution,  he  continued  to  preach 
the  Gospel.  The  people  took  a  knife  and  cut  his  skin. 
He  was  bleeding  and  they  put  chili  powder  and  salt  into 
the  cuts  and  wounds.  He  did  not  mind  the  pain  which 
this  caused  him  but  said:  'Formerly  Satan  wounded 
me  very  much  with  his  fiery  darts.  But  the  blood  of 
Jesus  healed  those  wounds.  The  suffering  caused  by 
your  wounds  is  not  much.'  With  a  desire  to  torture 
him  still  more,  they  began  to  peel  off  his  skin.  But  he 
said  to  them:  'I  thank  you  for  this.  Take  off  this  old 
garment.  I  shall  soon  put  on  Christ's  garment  of 
righteousness.'  Seeing  that  he  was  not  disheartened, 
but  that,  still  conscious,  he  was  praising  God  and  was 
happy,  and  unable  to  endure  the  sight,  they  cast  him 
into  a  roaring  fire.  'I  thank  you  for  throwing  me  into 
this  fire,'  he  said,  'for  the  flames  of  this  fire  lift  me  up 
high  so  that  I  may  reach  heaven  soon. '  Then  he  prayed 
for  his  persecutors  and  died,  gladly  entrusting  his  soul 
to  the  Father's  care." 


THE  DARK  NIGHT  OP  THE  SOUL 

The  literature  of  mysticism  abounds  in  references  to 
a  phase  of  spiritual  experience  known  as  "the  dark 
night  of  the  soul."  This  is  a  period  of  "impotence, 
blankness,  solitude,"  arising  in  some  mystics  from  a 


A  MYSTIC'S  PEACE  65 

sense  of  separation  from  God,  in  others  from  an  abrupt 
conviction  of  the  soul's  own  hopeless  and  helpless  im 
perfection,  and  in  still  others  from  a  disappearance  of 
all  the  old  ardors.  "Such  an  interval  of  chaos  and 
misery  may  last  for  months,  or  even  for  years,  before 
the  consciousness  again  unifies  itself  and  a  new  center 
is  formed."1  Has  the  Sadhu  had  any  experience  cor 
responding  to  the  "dark  night  of  the  soul"?  In  reply 
to  this  question,  the  significance  of  which  he  at  once 
caught,  referring  also  to  the  phrase  "game  of  love"  used 
in  regard  to  it  by  some  mystics,  he  said  that  sometimes 
—for  a  few  hours  but  never  for  days  or  weeks — his  soul 
has  been  deprived  of  its  wonderful  peace  and  joy.  He 
is  glad  this  has  occurred  for  two  reasons:  first,  because 
when  he  emerges  out  of  the  darkness  he  has  a  greater 
joy  than  ever  in  the  light,  and,  secondly,  because  the 
experience  refutes  effectively  the  position  that  the  hu 
man  and  the  divine  soul  are  one,  for,  if  they  are  one, 
how  can  they  be  separated  and  how  can  this  episode  in 
the  soul's  life-history  take  place?  "Of  course,  God  does 
not  really  abandon  the  soul.  He  only  hides  himself  for 
a  moment.  There  was  a  Red  Indian  boy  once  who  was  a 
coward.  His  father  wanted  to  teach  him  bravery.  So 
he  took  him  to  the  woods  and  tied  him  to  a  tree  and  left 
him  there  all  night  long.  The  boy  howled  in  the  fear 
that  wild  beasts  might  come  and  make  a  prey  of  him. 
But  the  father  had  not  actually  left  him;  he  had  only 
hid  himself  behind  a  tree,  gun  in  hand,  to  shoot  any  wild 
beast  that  might  come  to  attack  his  son.  So  does  our 
heavenly  Father  with  us."  On  another  occasion,  speak 
ing  on  the  same  topic,  he  said,  "Sometimes  I  felt  I  had 
been  left  alone.  Then  I  began  to  think:  'I  have  com- 

i  Evelyn  Underbill,  Mysticism,  p.  462. 


66  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

mitted  a  sin.  That  is  why  my  peace  is  taken  away.'  I 
wanted  to  know  what  that  sin  was  on  account  of  which  I 
had  lost  my  peace.  Sometimes  we  are  left  alone  on  ac 
count  of  sin,  sometimes  we  are  left  alone,  not  for  this 
cause,  but  that  so  we  may  bear  witness  for  Him  more 
than  before." 

"Have  you  ever  felt  any  strain,"  we  asked,  uin  main 
taining  your  spiritual  life?" 

' '  In  India  there  are  long  spells  of  rainless  heat.  After 
the  first  rain  the  heat  rises,  hot  mists  form  like  vapor, 
and  one  has  a  sense  of  suffocation.  After  the  second, 
third  and  fourth  showers  there  is  no  dust,  no  feeling  of 
suffocation.  So  after  the  first  shower  of  blessing  (pre 
sumably  his  conversion)  I  felt  perplexities;  but  after 
the  second,  third  and  fourth  showers  of  blessing  I  have 
felt  them  no  more.  This  is  especially  true  since  the 
Fast.  Since  the  Fast  I  get  more  easily  into  Ecstasy,  but 
before  it  I  took  more  delight  in  the  physical  joy  of  the 
waking  state.  I  was  too  conscious  of  the  external  world 
and  not  deep  enough  in  spiritual  things.  The  Fast  prob 
ably  put  me  in  the  right  way." 

Nevertheless,  with  the  Sadhu,  the  experience  of  spir 
itual  desolation  seems  never  to  have  lasted  more  than  a 
few  hours.  "We  put  several  questions  to  him  on  this 
point  to  make  quite  sure  we  had  not  misunderstood  him. 
It  became  clear  to  us  that — unless  his  recollection  was  at 
fault,  which,  on  a  point  so  central  to  him,  is  not  very 
likely — right  from  the  time  of  his  conversion  he  has  been 
comparatively  immune  from  such  periods  of  depression, 
and  since  the  Fast  all  but  completely  so.  ' '  If  ever  I  lost 
my  Peace  I  got  it  back  when  I  began  to  pray." 


IV 

A  MYSTIC'S  WAY 
THE  MYSTIC  AND  THE  PLAIN  MAN 

THE  Sadhu  has  no  sympathy  with  the  conception  of  a 
Mystic  as  a  kind  of  spiritual  aristocrat  aloof  from  the 
common  herd  of  simple  Christians.  He  has,  indeed,  as 
we  have  seen  in  the  previous  chapter,  much  to  say  about 
the  ineffable  quality  of  mystic  experience;  but  he  is  no 
less  insistent  that  the  communion  with  the  Divine  which 
is  its  essence  is  open  to  every  man — needing  no  rare  or 
special  gifts,  and  demanding  no  abandonment  of  the 
ordinary  avocations  of  life.  Especially  remarkable  is  his 
constant  repudiation  of  the  Ascetic  ideal  which  has  ap 
pealed  to  so  many  Mystics,  whether  Christian  or  Hindu. 
To  him  the  mystic  way  is  not  the  via  negativa  of  self- 
conscious  renunciation  but  just  a  simple  quiet  life  of 
Prayer  and  self-sacrificing  Service. 

"You  deprecate  the  title  'ascetic/  you  told  us,  would 
you  accept  that  of  'mystic'?"  we  asked. 

"That  is  a  different  matter/'  said  he,  "but  I  do  not 
quite  like  to  describe  myself  as  a  mystic.  For  one  thing 
the  ordinary  man  (here  the  Sadhu  smiled)  thinks  'mys 
tic'  is  something  connected  with  mist,  and  many  even 
who  know  better  than  this  are  inclined  to  say  of  one  who 
claims  to  be  a  mystic,  'He  may  be  a  very  sensible  man  in 
most  things,  but  in  one  thins  he  is  mad.'  The  true 
mystic  is  one  who  lives  with  God  and  knows  the  mind  of 

C7 


68  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

'God ;  and  very  few,  even  of  the  greatest  saints,  have  got 
very  far  in  this.  I  am  only  a  beginner,  a  child  sucking 
milk  from  its  spiritual  mother.  I  enjoy  it  and  it  gives 
me  strength.  I  ask  no  further  questions  than  to  be  His 
child.  Hence  I  hesitate  to  call  myself  a  mystic,  just  as 
in  India  I  always  try  to  prevent  people  calling  me 
'Swami.'1  I  prefer  to  be  called  merely  'Sadhu,'  which 
only  means  'religious  man.'  : 

On  another  occasion  we  asked,  "What  about  the  reli 
gion  of  non-mystical  people?  Some  people  appreciate 
music  and  some  don't.  Some  appreciate  good  pictures 
and  some  don't.  So  may  not  some  have  the  capacity  for 
religion  and  others  not  ? ' ' 

"The  capacity  for  religion,"  he  replied,  "is  not  like 
the  capacity  to  appreciate  art.  It  is  rather  like  thirst. 
Is  there  any  man  who  does  not  become  thirsty  ?  Just  as 
thirst  has  been  created  to  make  men  use  water,  so  the 
religious  thirst  has  been  created  to  make  men  come  to 
God." 

"But,"  we  objected,  "some  men  surely  have  a  larger 
spiritual  capacity  than  others.  You  would  say,  would 
you  not,  that  men  like  Augustine,  Luther,  Wesley,  are 
more  gifted  than  others?" 

1 1  There  are  physical  differences  between  different  men. 
Some  have  larger  heads  than  others  and  some  smaller. 
But  I  believe  that  the  spiritual  capacity  in  all  men  is 
alike.  Men  like  St.  Augustine  stand  out  because  they 
have  developed  their  capacity  better.  They  have  spent 
more  time  and  energy  on  the  cultivation  of  their  spir 
itual  life." 

i  "Swami"  means  "Lord,"  and  is  a  title  applied  in  India  to 
gods  and  holy  men. 


A  MYSTIC'S  WAY  69 


RENUNCIATION  AND  ACTIVE  SERVICE 

The  Sadhu  will  not  tolerate  the  suggestion  that  the 
cloistered  mystics  of  the  Middle  Ages  lived  only  for 
themselves,  doing  no  good  to  the  world.  "Did  not  a 
monk,"  he  asked,  "write  the  Imitation  of  Christ,  which 
has  given  priceless  counsel  to  multitudes?"  Yet,  in 
spite  of  the  long  hours  he  spends  in  what  to  him  is  the 
Heaven  of  communion  with  Christ,  the  Sadhu 's  own 
life  is  predominantly  one  of  active  service — busy  and 
exhausting.  Asked  what  he  would  do  with  a  week,  if 
he  had  it  all  to  himself,  whether  he  would  spend  it  in 
prayer  and  meditation  or  in  active  work,  he  replied  in 
his  characteristic  way,  "Can  we  drink  only  water  or 
eat  only  food  for  a  week?  We  require  both  drink  and 
food."  He  spends  weeks  together  on  the  Himalayas, 
but  it  would  be  quite  a  mistake  to  conclude  that  he  de 
votes  thorn  entirely  to  prayer  and  meditation.  He  rarely 
has  complete  days  of  pure  meditation.  He  preaches  the 
Clospel  in  the  villages  that  are  scattered  all  over  the 
Himalayas,  and  meditates  when  he  finds  the  time. 

The  practical  character  of  his  Christianity  may  be 
illustrated  by  a  story  which  he  often  l  tells  on  account  of 
its  extremely  literal  exemplification  of  the  truth  of  a  fa 
vorite  text:  "whosoever  would  save  his  life  shall  lose  it, 
and  whosoever  shall  lose  his  life  for  my  sake  shall  find 
it"  (Matt,  xvi,  25). 

Crossing  a  range  of  mountains  in  a  heavy  snowstorm 
he  was  joined  by  a  Tibetan  who  was  afraid  of  going 
alone.  The  cold  was  so  intense  that  they  had  already 

i  He  told  the  story  at  Mansfield  College,  Oxford,  and  we  have 
found  no  less  than  three  versions  of  it  in  print. 


70  SADHU  SUNDAE  SINGH 

begun  to  despair  of  reaching  their  destination  alive,  when 
they  saw  a  man,  who  had  slipped  down  a  slope  of  snow 
some  thirty  feet  below  the  path,  lying  there  unconscious. 
The  Sadhu  asked  his  companion  to  help  him  carry  the 
man  to  the  village.  The  Tibetan,  telling  him  that  he 
was  a  fool  to  try  to  help  another  when  he  could  barely 
save  himself,  left  him  and  hurried  on  ahead.  The  Sadhu 
went  down  the  slope  and  just  managed  to  get  back  on 
to  the  road  again  with  the  man  on  his  shoulders  and 
struggled  slowly  along.  Some  distance  further  on  he 
perceived  his  former  companion  sitting  by  the  wayside. 
He  called,  but  there  was  no  answer — he  was  frozen  dead. 
The  Sadhu  himself  meanwhile  had  become  thoroughly 
warmed  by  his  exertions  and,  as  a  result  of  this  warmth 
and  of  the  friction  between  their  bodies,  the  man  he 
carried  also  gradually  became  warmer  and  came  to ;  and 
both  reached  the  village  alive  and  full  of  thankfulness. 
"It  is  easy  to  die  for  Christ.  It  is  hard  to  live  for 
Him.  Dying  takes  only  an  hour  or  two,  but  to  live  for 
Christ  means  to  die  daily.  During  the  few  years  of  this 
life  only  I  am  given  the  privilege  to  serve  man  and 
Christ.  If  it  were  right  for  me  to  be  in  Heaven  always 
I  should  have  been  called  there,  but  as  I  am  still  left  on 
earth  it  is  my  duty  to  work.  This  is  where  I  entirely 
disagree  with  the  Hindu  idea  of  renunciation.  I  do  not 
call  myself  a  Sannyasi,  for  a  Sannyasi  means  one  who 
renounces.  He  renounces  the  world  because  he  thinks 
everything  in  it  is  evil,  but  I  think  that  all  is  good.  The 
world  is  all  the  property  of  my  Father,  and  is  therefore 
my  property.1  If  I  renounce  the  world  I  renounce  some 

i  In  Hindu  law  property  frequently  belongs  to  the  family,  not 
to  the  individual. 


A  MYSTIC'S  WAY  71 

of  the  gifts  which  my  Heavenly  Father  gives  me  out  of 
His  Love.  Therefore  I  do  not  renounce  the  world,  but 
only  the  evil  in  it." 

The  world  is  full  of  difficulty  and  temptation,  but  it 
is  not  intrinsically  bad.  "In  the  Himalayas  there  is  a 
place  where  there  are  beautiful  flowers,  but  if  you  linger 
there  you  go  off  to  sleep.  The  men  who  live  there  al 
ways  smell  another  herb  before  passing  the  spot,  to 
counteract  their  power.  When  they  warned  me,  I  sup 
posed  the  flowers  were  poisonous;  but  they  told  me  that 
they  were  not  actually  poisonous,  as  was  proved  by  the 
fact  that  people  affected  by  them  did  not  die  till  after 
twelve  days,  and  that,  not  directly  from  the  effect  of  the 
flowers,  but  as  a  result  of  the  hunger  and  thirst  conse 
quent  on  their  long  torpor.  Just  so,  the  good  things  of 
this  world  are  not  in  themselves  bad,  but  they  may  pre 
vent  one  feeling  spiritual  hunger  and  thirst  and  thus  be 
the  cause  of  spiritual  death.  And  just  as  there  is  an 
other  herb  whose  smell  prevents  one  from  falling  asleep 
when  one  passes  these  flowers,  so  the  medicine  of  Prayer 
will  keep  one  safe  amid  the  attractions  of  the  world."  l 

"Undoubtedly  the  claims  of  wealth  and  position  do 
tend  to  distract  man  from  the  higher  life.  That  is 
why,"  says  the  Sadhu,  ''few  very  wealthy  people  sub 
scribe  to  Missions.  So  Rajas  have  sometimes  become 

i  It  is  often  difficult  to  be  certain  when  the  illustrations  given 
by  the  Sadhu  are  drawn  from  actual  life  and  when  they  are 
intended  to  bo  taken  as  merely  parables.  A  certain  lady,  in 
whose  hearing  the  Sadhu  had  used  this  particular  illustration, 
supposed  it  was  a  parable  derived  from  his  own  fancy,  but  to 
her  surprise  came  across  a  case  of  a  coolie  who  was  sent  to  sleep 
for  nine  days  by  these  flowers,  and  wrote  a  letter  from  India 
on  the  subject  which  is  now  in  my  possession.— B.  H.  S, 


72  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

Sannyasis.  So,  too,  the  Buddha.  They  thought  the 
good  things  of  this  world  were  in  themselves  evil,  but  in 
reality  they  are  not  evil,  only  they  produce  evil  effects 
if  they  are  not  used  properly.  I  admire  some  of  these 
Indian  kings  who  have  renounced  the  world,  even  though 
their  theory  is  mistaken.  I  admire  their  courage  in  that, 
once  they  grasped  the  effect  of  these  things  on  them,  they 
were  able,  after  living  in  state  and  luxury,  to  renounce 
them.  One  such  instance  was  Bharatri  Harish  Chandra, 
King  of  Ujjain.  I  saw  his  magnificent  palace,  and  then, 
a  few  miles  away,  the  underground  cave  to  which  he  re 
tired  after  his  renunciation.  The  striking  contrast  of 
the  two  brought  home  to  me  how  impossible  it  is  for  the 
soul  to  find  satisfaction  in  worldly  things.  These  may 
be  good,  but  one  cannot  slake  one's  spiritual  thirst  with 
them.  There  was  once  a  house  on  fire ;  the  owner,  want 
ing  to  quench  the  flames,  took  up  a  vessel  full  of  paraffin. 
He  thought  it  was  water;  both  water  and  paraffin  spring 
from  the  ground.  He  poured  it  on  the  fire,  but  it  only 
made  it  worse.  The  same  thing  happens  when  we  try 
to  quench  the  flames  of  spiritual  desire  with  the  good 
things  of  this  world. " 

"Do  you  ever,''  we  asked,  "have  people  say  to  you, 
'It  is  all  very  well  for  you,  a  sadhu,  without  a  family  to 
support,  or  a  business  to  carry  on,  to  follow  literally  the 
teaching  of  Christ;  but  how  is  this  possible  for  those 
who  have  families  to  bring  up,  and  who  have  to  carry 
on  the  world's  work — which  you  yourself  say  is  the  life 
to  which  the  majority  of  men  are  called?'  3  "For  all 
men,"  he  replied,  "as  long  as  they  live  in  this  world, 
there  will  be  great  difficulties  in  the  way  of  following 
Christ.  My  life  is  not  an  easy  one.  My  difficulties  are 


A  MYSTIC'S  WAY  73 

great.  So  are  the  difficulties  of  men  who  live  in  the 
world,  though  they  are  not  quite  of  the  same  kind.  But, 
if  we  do  our  best  in  spite  of  difficulties,  we  shall  acquire 
a  strength  which  will  enable  us  at  once  to  achieve  great 
heights  the  moment  we  enter  the  next  life  where  those 
difficulties  will  be  removed.  In  olden  days  men  trained 
themselves  for  certain  races  by  trying  to  run  in  chains. 
They  could  not  run  either  easily  or  fast  in  chains,  but 
when,  on  the  day  of  the  race,  the  chains  were  thrown 
aside  they  found  they  could  run  much  faster  on  account 
of  the  strength  they  had  developed  in  the  chains. " 

We  returned  to  the  charge,  "But  business  men  often 
say,  with  some  show  of  justice,  that  Christianity  is  not 
practicable  in  this  world.  What,  for  instance,  would 
you  say  to  a  man  in  business  who  says  that  in  order  to 
keep  his  position  he  has  to  be  dishonest,  to  say,  for  ex 
ample,  that  a  certain  material  is  good  when  he  knows  it 
is  not;  otherwise  his  employer  would  dismiss  him?" 

"At  first,"  said  the  Sadhu,  "the  man  may  suffer  be 
cause  of  his  desire  to  be  honest.  But  soon  people  will 
begin  to  respect  him  and  God  also  will  prosper  him.  I 
knew  a  merchant  in  India  who  suffered  because  of  his 
honesty.  He  suffered  for  two  or  three  years.  Then 
they  all  began  to  buy  from  him  when  they  saw  his 
sincerity  and  truth;  and  he  became  a  rich  man. 

"If  a  man  is  really  living  with  Christ,  misfortune, 
sickness,  abuse,  persecution  cannot  harm  him.  On  the 
contrary  he  responds  to  these  in  such  a  way  that  good 
results  both  to  himself  and  to  others.  A  boy  once  threw 
some  stones  at  a  tree  and  the  fruit  fell  down.  His  father 
said,  'You  see  if  you  try  to  hurt  the  tree  it  gives  you  in 
return  good  fruit,'  so  it  is  with  those  who  live  in  Christ." 


74  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

THE  NATURE  OF  PRAYER 

Prayer  is  a  theme  on  which  it  is  possible  to  say  much 
that  is  true,  but  not  much  that  is  new.  Indeed  one 
would  instinctively  suspect  the  soundness  of  views  on 
this  subject  which  seemed  too  startlingly  original.  At 
any  rate  the  Sadhu  has  none  such  to  proclaim.  His  ob 
servations  on  Prayer  are  on  the  same  high  level  of  "in 
spired  common  sense"  as  those  on  Service  and  Renunci 
ation.  They  are  in  the  main  simple,  familiar,  straight 
forward  maxims  illuminated  by  his  special  gift  for  happy 
illustration.  But  they  are  also  the  expression  of  an 
absolute  conviction  resting-  upon  personal  experience, 
and  for  that  alone  would  be  worth  recording. 

' '  How  much  of  your  prayer  is  petition  and  how  much 
of  it  is  communion?"  we  asked  the  Sadhu.  "For  the 
first  two  or  three  years  after  my  conversion, ' '  he  replied, 
"I  used  to  ask  for  specific  things.  Now  I  ask  for  God. 
'Supposing  there  is  a  tree  full  of  fruits,  you  will  have  to 
go  and  buy  or  beg  the  fruits  from  the  owner  of  the 
tree.  Every  day  you  would  have  to  go  for  one  or  two 
fruits.  But  if  you  can  make  the  tree  your  own  property, 
then  all  the  fruits  will  be  your  own.  In  the  same  way, 
if  God  is  your  own,  then  all  things  in  heaven  and  on 
earth  will  be  your  own,  because  He  is  your  Father  and 
is  everything  to  you,  otherwise  you  will  have  to  go  and 
ask  like  a  beggar  for  certain  things.  When  they  are 
used  up,  you  will  have  to  ask  again.  So  ask  not  for 
gifts,  but  for  the  Giver  of  gifts;  not  for  life  but  for 
the  Giver  of  life — then  life  and  the  things  needed  for  life 
will  be  added  unto  you. 

"Prayer  is  not  begging,  it  is  communion  with  God — 
it  is  conversing  with  God.  How  our  life  is  trans- 


A  MYSTIC'S  WAY  75 

formed  when  we  are  in  the  company  of  a  noble  friend ! 
Then  how  much  more  will  communion  with  the  One  who 
is  good  beyond  all  measure  transform  us ! 

''When  I  was  traveling  in  Baluchistan  I  came  to  a 
village,  and  the  water  had  to  be  brought  three  miles  to 
that  village.  There  is  no  spring  or  well  there.  One 
day  there  was  a  certain  man  whom  I  met;  he  told  me 
everything  about  it.  He  had  two  sons  and  he  asked  his 
sons  to  go  and  dig  in  a  certain  field,  saying,  'There  is 
treasure  in  that  field.'  They  said,  'We  shall  find  gold 
and  silver  there. '  So  from  morning  to  evening  they  were 
digging  for  three  days,  but  they  did  not  find  anything 
and  they  went  to  tell  their  father.  The  father  said: 
'  There  is  a  great  treasure  there ;  I  am  sure  you  will  find 
it.'  On  the  fourth  day  they  were  still  digging  and  were 
tired.  They  said,  'Even  if  we  get  gold  and  silver  we 
cannot  quench  our  thirst.  The  most  important  thing  is 
water.'  Suddenly  a  spring  of  water  broke  out  and  the 
men  were  so  happy.  One  went  to  his  father  to  tell  him 
of  what  he  had  found.  The  father  said,  '  I  did  not  say, 
"Go  and  dig  for  water."  I  knew  you  would  not  go 
and  dig  for  the  whole  village.  You  would  say:  "Let 
the  villagers  go  and  dig,"  but  when  I  said  that  a  treas 
ure  was  there  you  went.  My  meaning  was  that  you 
would  go  for  the  sake  of  gold  and  silver,  but  would  find 
something  more  precious  than  that.  When  you  were 
digging  for  that  it  was  a  good  bodily  exercise  for  you; 
you  found  water  also.'  Prayer  is  an  exercise  like  dig 
ging  ;  it  makes  one  stronger — stronger  to  deal  with  temp 
tation.  Also  by  means  of  it  one  finds  a  treasure  far  more 
valuable  than  one  set  out  to  seek. 

"One  day  a  man  who  was  very  hungry  knocked  at  a 
house  and  asked  for  a  slice  of  bread.     The  owner  of  the 


76  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

house  welcomed  him  into  the  house  and  talked  with 
him  about  spiritual  things  until  dinner  was  ready  and 
then  he  gave  him  dinner.  The  stranger's  heart  was 
deeply  touched  by  this  half -hour's  conversation  and  he 
was  converted  and  became  a  child  of  God.  What  he 
sought  after  was  a  slice  of  bread ;  what  he  obtained  was 
the  salvation  of  his  soul." 

Intercession  is  an  important  element  in  the  Sadhu's 
own  prayers.  "I  have  two  or  three  hundred  god-chil 
dren.  I  have  a  list  of  their  names.  When  I  am  on  my 
preaching  tours  I  do  not  find  the  time  to  pray  for  them. 
But  when  on  the  Himalayas  I  pray  for  them  all."  Inci 
dentally  in  one  of  his  addresses  he  gives  a  glimpse  of 
what  this  means:  "For  eight  years  I  was  praying  for 
one  person  I  knew  and  it  seemed  to  me  at  times  almost 
useless,  but  after  eight  years  that  man  began  to  think 
and  my  prayer  was  answered." 

He  was  convinced  that  the  prayers  of  various  friends 
in  India  were  really  holding  him  up  and  helping  him  in 
what  he  regarded  as  the  peculiarly  difficult  and  respon 
sible  work  of  delivering  his  message  in  England  and  in 
the  English  language.  He  always  spoke  of  them  with 
gratitude  and  regularly  wrote,  or  more  often  dictated, 
for  their  encouragement  accounts  of  his  experiences. 
When  asked  to  give  a  Good  Friday  address  in  Westmin 
ster  Chapel,  he  took  special  steps  to  see  that  news  of 
this  meeting — which  he  regarded  as  a  very  important 
one — should  reach  India  in  time  for  his  friends  to  re 
member  him  in  prayer  on  that  particular  day. 

At  one  time  the  Sadhu  questioned  the  value  of  inter 
cessory  prayer.  "We  ourselves  are  not  good.  Then 
how  can  our  prayers  help  others?"  But  the  Book  of 


A  MYSTIC'S  WAY  77 

Nature — so  abundant  in  its  inspiration  to  him — has 
dispelled  this  doubt.  "I  saw  clouds  being  formed  from 
the  vapor  which  arose  from  sea-water.  I  thought  that 
as  the  vapor  came  from  salt  water  the  rain  which  de 
scended  would  be  salt  water  too.  So  I  stretched 
out  my  hand  and  catching  a  few  drops  tasted  them,  and, 
behold,  they  were  fresh  and  sweet.  The  sun  having 
shone,  the  salt  had  been  left  behind  in  the  sea.  So  when 
we  pray,  thoughts  arise  up  from  our  hearts  like  vapor. 
The  Sun  of  Righteousness  shines  on  them  and  anything 
that  is  evil  is  left  behind.  From  the  clouds  thus  formed, 
showers  of  blessing  fall  upon  the  world." 

THE  NECESSITY  OF  PRAYER 

"Once  I  was  sitting  on  the  bank  of  a  river  and  ob 
served  some  fish  coming  up  to  the  surface  and  opening 
their  mouths.  I  thought  that  they  wanted  to  cat  the 
smaller  fish.  But  an  expert  in  these  matters  afterwards 
told  me  that  they  had  to  come  up  to  the  surface  occas 
ionally  for  air  even  though  they  could  breathe  to  a  cer 
tain  extent  under  water.  Like  these  fish  Christians  also 
have  to  rise  from  time  to  time  above  their  daily  occupa 
tions  in  order  that  they  may  come  into  closer  contact 
with  God,  though  even  while  occupied  in  their  work  they 
can  keep  to  some  extent  in  touch  with  Him." 

"When  I  was  coming  over  on  the  steamer  a  very 
learned  man  said  to  me,  'Are  you  not  interested  in  the 
stars  and  planets  and  the  men  who  are  sending  mes 
sages  to  Mars?'  I  said,  'It  is  interesting,  but  Mars  is 
many  millions  of  miles  away  from  this  earth.  You  are 
going  to  try  and  send  messages  there,  but  the  Creator  of 


78  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

that  star  and  of  yourself  is  nearer  than  breathing.  Do 
you  ever  think  of  praying  and  sending  messages  to 
Him!'  " 

"But  what  about  the  business  man,"  we  asked,  "who 
says  he  has  no  time  for  prayer  since  he  has  to  hurry 
through  his  breakfast  to  rush  off  to  his  office  ? ' '  *  *  Prayer 
is  as  important  to  him  as  his  breakfast, ' '  said  the  Sadhu. 
1 1  How  can  he  get  along  without  prayer  any  more  than  he 
can  without  food  ?  If  he  once  begins  to  form  the  habit  of 
prayer  he  will  find  so  much  pleasure  in  it  that  he  will 
somehow  or  other  find  the  time  for  it.  ...  Prayer  is  as 
important  as  breathing.  We  never  say,  'We  have  no 
time  to  breathe. '  ' 

He  himself  finds  time  for  prayer  by  cutting  out  many 
things  which  others  think  essential.  Before  a  meeting 
he  insists  on  several  hours  of  quiet.  If  he  has  to  speak 
in  the  evening  he  declines  invitations  to  tea  or  dinner, 
though  when  he  has  no  engagements  of  pressing  impor 
tance  before  him  he  readily  accepts  such  invitations. 
When  asked  as  to  what  a  man  should  do  when  he  has 
such  a  short  time  at  his  disposal  that  he  must  choose  be 
tween  his  newspaper  and  his  Bible,  he  said,  "It  is  his 
duty  to  choose  the  Bible."  He  himself  rarely  reads  the 
papers.  He  says,  in  the  first  place,  he  has  no  time,  and, 
in  the  second  place,  he  is  not  concerned  with  politics. 
"I  am  not  greatly  interested  in  Home  Rule  for  India," 
he  once  confessed,  "my  Eternal  Home  is  elsewhere." 

Commenting  upon  the  text,  "What,  could  ye  not 
watch  with  me  one  hour?  Watch  and  pray  that  ye  en 
ter  not  into  temptation."  "Why,"  he  said,  "does  our 
Lord  address  these  words  of  counsel  to  Peter?  There 
must  have  been  a  special  reason  for  this.  Peter  was  the 
one  who  was  going  to  deny  Christ.  Christ  asked  him  to 


A  MYSTIC'S  WAY  79 

pray  so  that  he  might  not  enter  into  that  great  tempta 
tion.  But  he  wasted  that  hour — and  he  denied  Christ. 
There  is  a  tradition  about  Peter  that  he  often  thought  of 
this  hour  and  grieved  over  it,  calling  it  his  'thorn  in  the 
flesh.'  Christ  spent  that  hour  in  prayer.  His  prayer 
was  heard  and  an  angel  from  heaven  strengthened  Him. 
He  obtained  the  strength  needed  to  die  on  the  Cross.  If 
Peter  had  spent  that  hour  in  prayer  he  might  have  ob 
tained  the  strength  to  overcome  his  temptation. 

' '  Once  on  a  mountain  peak  I  heard  below  me  the  roar 
of  thunder  and  saw  flashes  of  lightning.  At  first  I  was 
rather  afraid ;  but  there  was  no  danger  to  me  from  them, 
because  I  was  seated  above  them  and  they  were  under 
my  feet.  In  the  same  way  Satan  cannot  harm  the  Chris 
tian  who,  by  prayer,  lives  in  the  heavenly  places  with 
Christ." 

DEVOTIONAL  HABITS 

The  circumstances  of  the  life  of  a  wandering  evange 
list  do  not  admit  of  absolutely  regular  habits.  At  times 
the  Sadhu  will  have  almost  whole  days  of  solitary  com 
munion  with  his  Lord  and  Master.  On  occasion  he  has 
spent  the  whole  night  praying.  At  other  times  he  has 
to  be  content  with  two  hours  of  devotion  in  the  early 
morning,  in  England  often  from  five  to  seven.  When  he 
can  find  time  he  extends  these  two  hours  to  three  or  four 
hours.  Whenever  he  is  compelled  by  circumstances  to 
omit  or  unduly  curtail  his  morning  meditation  he  feels 
a  certain  restlessness  and  unhappiness  throughout  the 
day. 

He  starts  the  day  by  reading  a  chapter  of  the  Bible, 
at  first  rapidly,  but  making  a  mental  note  of  those  verses 
which  seem  particularly  rich  and  suggestive.  Then  he 


80  SADHU  SUNDAE  SINGH 

returns  to  these  verses  and  lingers  over  them  as  long  as 
he  feels  that  he  is  having  fruitful  thoughts  on  them. 
Then  he  spends  about  fifteen  or  more  minutes  in  collect 
ing  his  thoughts  in  preparation  for  prayer.  Then,  as  he 
puts  it,  the  Holy  Spirit  Himself  teaches  him  what  to 
pray  for,  both  in  regard  to  himself  and  in  regard  to 
others.  For  prayer  he  has  no  one  posture.  He  prays 
sitting,  kneeling,  sometimes  walking.  As  a  Sikh  he  used 
to  prostrate  himself  in  prayer,  but  now  he  does  not  fol 
low  this  practice. 

"In  praying  do  you  generally  use  words?"  we  asked. 

"No,  the  language  of  prayer  is  a  language  without 
words.  When  God  speaks  to  the  soul  we  have  an  immedi 
ate  apprehension  of  His  meaning,  somewhat  like  what 
occasionally  happens  in  conversation  when  you  know 
what  the  other  man  is  going  to  say  before  he  says  it.  So 
when  we  have  a  quiet  time  God  speaks  to  the  soul.  His 
thoughts  are  put  directly  into  our  minds  without  words, 
and  very  often  they  are  thoughts  which  are  not  expres 
sible  in  words;  yet  in  one  minute  we  may  learn  in  this 
way  what  we  could  not  learn  otherwise  in  thirty  years. 
Hence  in  private  prayer  I  do  not  use  words,  but  in  large 
gatherings  it  is  necessary  to  do  so." 

He  lays  great  stress  on  the  necessity  for  stillness  and 
waiting  on  God.  "God  is  quiet,  He  does  not  make  a 
noise;  therefore  to  understand  Him  we  must  be  quiet." 
"In  the  hurry  and  rush  of  life  God  is  silent ;  we  have  to 
sit  at  Christ's  feet  if  we  would  feel  His  blessing,  and 
then  Heaven  will  be  in  our  heart."  "Before  Pentecost 
the  Apostles  had  to  wait  ten  days."  "To  receive  great 
blessing  from  the  Holy  Spirit  there  must  be  great  prep 
aration." 

"Philosophers  have  found  that  they  can  think  better 


A  MYSTIC'S  WAY  81 

'when  they  are  quiet.  How  much  more  then  must  this 
be  true  of  the  deeper  spiritual  things!  But  those  who 
have  had  no  experience  think  the  desire  for  quiet  is 
merely  laziness.'* 

He  prefers  to  pray  alone,  when  his  thoughts  can  flow 
steadily  on  with  little  or  no  distraction.  He  finds  it  hard 
to  attain  the  same  measure  of  concentration  when  in  the 
company  of  others ;  though,  frequently,  for  their  sake,  he 
has  to  pray  with  them.  Little  movements  and  shufflings 
seem  to  disturb  him.  Somewhat  to  our  surprise  he  said 
that  the  Quaker  method  of  silent  corporate  prayer  did 
not  particularly  help  him. 

"When  praying  do  you  picture  to  yourself  the  figure 
of  Christ?"  we  asked.  "I  always  did  so  at  first,"  he 
said,  "I  don't  do  it  so  frequently  now.  His  figure 
comes  up  now  and  then.  It  is  like  the  image  of  Christ 
which  I  always  see  in  my  Ecstasy.  Often,  and  increas 
ingly  with  the  lapse  of  time,  I  feel  the  presence  of  Christ 
without  seeing  Him,  either  with  my  physical  eyes,  as  in 
the  case  of  the  vision  before  my  conversion,  or  with  my 
spiritual  eyes,  as  in  the  case  of  my  ecstatic  experiences. 
As  you  become  like  Christ  you  feel  His  presence  more. 
When  we  are  in  a  hot  country  and  a  cold  wind  blows,  it 
refreshes  us  very  much.  So  is  the  presence  of  Christ  to 
me  in  the  midst  of  work." 

Having  in  mind  the  practice  of  the  mediaeval  mystics, 
we  asked  the  Sadhu  whether  he  had  found  the  use  of  the 
Crucifix  of  value.  "Personally,"  he  replied,  "I  do  not 
get  much  help  from  the  Crucifix,  but  I  think  it  may  be 
useful  to  children,  to  beginners  and  to  people  engaged 
all  the  time  in  worldly  business." 

He  does  not  derive  much  help  from  the  use  of  written 
prayers.  "Prayers  by  St.  Chrysostom  and  others  are 


82  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

beautiful  but  they  become  mechanical  in  the  course  of 
time."  He  hesitates  to  use  even  the  Lord's  Prayer  too 
often  lest  it  become  mechanical.  Speaking  of  written 
prayers  he  says,  "The  needs  of  men  are  in  their  hearts, 
not  in  books."  He  sometimes  tells  this  story:  "A  man 
was  dying.  A  clergyman  called  on  him  but  found  that 
his  prayer-book  was  not  in  his  pocket.  So  he  hurried 
home  to  get  it.  When  the  clergyman  came  back  the 
man  was  dead.  The  people  said,  'Prayers  don't  seem  to 
come  out  of  his  heart;  they  seem  to  come  out  of  his 
pocket.'  " 

It  is  important  to  indicate  his  attitude  towards  the 
Holy  Communion.  He  finds  himself  at  home  among 
Christians  of  all  denominations.  Now  he  stays  with 
High  Anglicans  who  attend  daily  Mass,  now  with  Non 
conformists  who  celebrate  the  Lord's  Supper  only  oc 
casionally.  The  nature  of  his  work  throws  him  in  con 
tact  with  Christians  of  all  types  of  belief  and  practice, 
and  the  frequency  with  which  he  partakes  of  the  Lord's 
'Supper  seems  to  be  dependent  somewhat  on  the  people 
in  whose  midst  he  is  living,  and  also  on  the  time  at  his 
disposal.  "If  I  had  the  time  I  would  like  to  partake  of 
it  every  day.  I  get  great  benefit  from  it."  Neverthe 
less,  the  sense  of  the  presence  and  companionship  of  the 
Living  Christ  is  his,  quite  independently  of  participation 
in  the  Eucharist.  His  doctrine  is  simple.  "I  do  not  be 
lieve  that  the  bread  and  wine  are  actually  transformed 
into  the  body  and  blood  of  Christ,  but  their  effect  on  the 
believer  is  as  if  they  were.  There  was  nothing  in  the 
brazen  serpent  that  Moses  lifted  up  in  the  wilderness, 
but  it  was  the  obedience  of  the  people  that  healed  them. 
So  is  it  with  the  Sacrament.  By  themselves,  the  bread 
and  wine  are  nothing,  but  the  obedience  to  the  com- 


A  MYSTIC'S  WAY  83 

mandment  and  the  believer's  attitude  towards  them  make 
all  the  difference. ' ' 

THE  BEGINNER'S  WAY 

Thinking  that  not  a  few  of  those  who  have  met  the 
Sadhu  or  heard  him  preach  would  value  some  practical 
advice  from  such  a  man  on  the  cultivation  of  the  devo 
tional  life,  we  put  to  him  the  question:  "What  advice 
about  prayer  and  meditation  would  you  give  to  a  begin 
ner?" 

"I  should  tell  him  to  read  a  chapter,  say  of  St.  John, 
and  to  note  the  striking  texts;  then  to  try  and  find  the 
inner  meaning  of  these  texts.  This  will  teach  him  how 
to  concentrate. 

"In  the  earlier  stages  of  my  Christian  experience  I 
used  generally  to  select  one  or  more  texts  from  the  New 
Testament  about  the  love  of  God,  and  fix  attention  on 
them.  Such  concentration  produces  the  same  result  as 
the  focusing  of  a  magnifying  glass  on  a  piece  of  cloth. 
When  we  concentrate  on  spiritual  things  by  fixing  our 
thoughts  and  hearts  towards  the  Sun  of  Righteousness, 
light  and  heat  from  that  Sun  will  fall  on  all  the  rubbisli 
of  life  and  burn  it.  Everything  against  the  will  of  God 
will  thus  be  destroyed. 

"At  different  times  I  have  asked  converts  to  Chris 
tianity  what  it  was  that  led  them  to  Christ.  Some  have 
quoted,  'Come  unto  me  all  ye  that  labor  and  are  heavy 
laden  and  I  will  give  you  rest';  others,  verses  from  St. 
Paul.  Different  texts  appeal  to  different  people.  So  it 
is  better  to  read  a  whole  chapter  and  to  pick  out  the  text 
that  appeals  to  one. 

"But  the  same  method  will  not  suit  all  men.     I  knew 


84  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

two  men  who  were  suffering  from  the  same  disease. 
One  was  from  North  India  and  the  other  from  South 
India.  I  thought  the  doctor  would  give  them  both  the 
same  medicine,  but  he  did  not  do  so.  One  came  from 
a  cold  place  and  the  other  from  a  hot  place.  So  he  pre 
scribed  a  different  medicine  for  each,  and  they  were  both 
cured. 

"Have  you  ever  seen  the  Spiritual  Exercises  of  St. 
Ignatius,  and  do  you  advise  anything  like  his  method?" 
"I  have  read  the  book,  and  I  think  that  his  method  may 
be  a  help  to  others,  but  it  did  not  help  me  much.  It 
helped  me  a  little,  but  not  as  much  as  my  own  method 
of  meditation. 

"Often  we  do  not  spend  enough  time  in  prayer;  that 
is  why  we  lose  strength  and  power.  Sometimes  it  may 
be  necessary  to  spend  more  than  an  hour;  early  morn 
ing  is  the  best  time.  First  we  feel  His  blessing.  After 
wards  we  find  that  He  is  not  only  blessing  us,  but  teach 
ing  us  how  to  pray." 

"Scientists  often  spend  years,  sometimes  a  whole  life 
time,  in  making  an  important  scientific  discovery.  Then 
how  can  we  expect  to  discover  spiritual  beauties  by 
spending  only  five  minutes  every  day  in  quiet  and 
prayer?  Some  people  become  tired  at  the  end  of  ten 
minutes  or  half  an  hour  of  prayer.  What  would  they 
do  when  they  have  to  spend  Eternity  in  the  presence  of 
God?  We  must  begin  the  habit  here  and  become  used 
to  being  with  God. 

"If  we  are  going  to  work  for  Him  He  must  be  with 
us,  and  only  through  prayer  can  that  be. 

* '  There  are  several  strings  to  a  violin.  They  must  be 
tightened  if  they  are  to  produce  a  melody.  Different 
thoughts  are  like  the  different  strings.  They  must  be 


A  MYSTIC'S  WAY  85 

tightened,  that  is,  brought  into  subjection  to  Christ,  and 
then  the  bow  of  prayer  will  produce  wonderful  songs. 

"If  we  have  not  obtained  this  new  life  and  light  al 
ready,  let  us  try  to  do  so  forthwith.  If  we  have  them, 
let  us  use  them  for  His  glory  now.  For  if  we  do  not  use 
His  gifts  we  may  lose  them  for  ever.  A  biologist  told  me 
that  the  ostrich  was  once  able  to  fly,  but  now  it  has  lost 
its  power  of  flight  because  it  never  made  use  of  its 
wings." 

^  But  without  self-sacrificing  service  prayer  is,  in  the 
Sadhu's  view,  of  small  account.  Self-sacrificing  service, 
then,  is  the  first  and  last  word  of  his  exhortation! 
" There  were  twelve  apostles  and  only  five  loaves;  but 
when  they  were  willing  to  give  they  found  there  was 
more  than  enough  for  all.  It  is  when  we  are  apparently 
dissipating  our  strength  that  people  begin  to  think, 

They  are  not  selfish— they  have  been  saved.'  Our 
Savior  says  that  we  are  the  salt  of  the  earth.  Only 
when  it  dissolves  does  salt  give  its  savor  to  other  things. 
Suppose  we  throw  some  salt  into  a  pot  of  boiling  rice, 
what  is  the  use  of  the  salt  if  it  does  not  dissolve  ?  If  it 
dissolves  its  savor  spreads  through  the  thousands  of 
grains  of  rice  in  the  pot.  Though  hidden  from  sight, 
we  know  its  presence  by  the  taste.  Because  it  dissolves, 
thousands  of  grains  of  rice  become  savory.  We  likewise 
can  save  others  only  by  losing  ourselves.  Otherwise  we 
shall  become  like  Lot 's  wife  who  became  a  pillar  of  salt 
through  her  love  of  the  world.  What  is  the  use  of  salt 
that  does  not  dissolve?" 


ECSTASY  AND  VISION 
ESOTERIC  CHARACTER 

To  the  Sadhu,  as  has  been  already  indicated,  the  great 
source  of  illumination,  solace  and  physical  refreshment 
is  the  recurrent  state  of  Ecstasy  in  which  he  feels  him 
self  caught  up  to  what  he  believes  to  be  the  place  alluded 
to  by  St.  Paul  as  "the  third  heaven"  (II  Cor.  xii.  2). 

"I  never  try  to  go  into  Ecstasy;  nor  do  I  advise  other 
people  to  try.  It  is  a  gift  to  be  accepted,  but  it  should 
not  be  sought;  if  given,  it  is  a  pearl  of  great  price. 
During  the  fourteen  years  of  my  life  as  a  sadhu  there 
have  been  many  times  when,  suffering  from  hunger, 
thirst  or  persecution,  I  might  have  been  tempted  to  give 
it  up  but  for  the  gift  of  these  times  of  Ecstasy,  but  these 
I  would  not  give  up  for  the  whole  world. '  * 

Clearly,  a  study  of  the  Sadhu 's  religion  would  be 
gravely  misleading  which  did  not  include  an  account  of 
experiences  to  which  he  himself  attaches  such  impor 
tance.  Equally  clearly  the  attempt  to  give  one  raises 
grave  difficulties.  Educated  people,  unless  indeed  they 
have  studied  the  lives  of  the  Mystics,  are  apt  to  question 
the  mental  balance  of  any  one  who  not  only  sees  Visions, 
but  takes  them  seriously.  The  uneducated,  on  the  other 
hand,  especially  in  the  East,  may  be  inclined  to  regard 
both  the  seer  and  his  revelations  with  that  kind  of  super- 

86 


ECSTASY  AND  VISION  87 

stitious  veneration  which  the  Sadhu  himself  is  studiously 
anxious  to  preclude. 

The  Sadhu  is  quite  alive  to  the  danger.  In  public  ad 
dresses  he  never  alludes  to  his  Visions ;  he  only  mentions 
them,  and  that  but  rarely,  when  speaking  to  friends 
whose  discernment  and  discretion  he  trusts.  Giving  an 
explanation  of  a  certain  religious  difficulty1  he  re 
marked,  "This  is  a  thing  I  often  say  in  preaching,  but  I 
never  say  that  I  heard  it  in  an  Ecstasy,  because  people 
would  not  understand  what  I  meant  without  long  and 
elaborate  explanation."  Similarly,  after  attempting  to 
give  us  an  account  of  the  things  he  had  seen,  he  ex 
plained  St.  Paul's  reticence  about  what  he  saw  in  the 
Third  Heaven.  "St.  Paul  was  afraid  people  would  mis 
understand  his  meaning;  and  that  is  why  he  spoke  of 
the  experience  as  if  it  had  been  not  his  own  but  some 
body  else's,  saying,  'I  know  a  man  in  Christ  who/  This 
was  because  he  knew  that,  if  he  spoke  of  the  Visions  as 
his  own,  people  would  have  come  and  bothered  him  by 
asking  foolish  questions,  and  would  have  misunderstood 
the  answers  he  had  given  them."  .  .  .  "lie  was  very 
wise  not  to  try  and  tell  them,"  added  the  Sadhu,  with  a 
smile  that  possibly  expressed  a  half  misgiving  that  he 
had  been  wiser  had  he  imitated  the  Apostle's  silence. 

One  friend  has  advised  us  to  suppress  this  chapter  al 
together,  but  the  Sadhu  undoubtedly  intended  us  to 
publish  what  he  told  us;  and  for  better  or  worse  the 
rumor  is  abroad  already,  and  has  appeared  in  print,  that 
he  does  see  Visions.  Some  of  these,  too,  evince  a  deli 
cacy  of  feeling  and  a  depth  of  moral  insight  which  makes 
it  a  greater  responsibility  to  suppress,  than  to  publish, 
them.  In  the  long  run,  we  feel  sure,  it  will  be  doing  a 
i  Cf.  p.  195. 


88  SADHU  SUNDAE  SINGH 

service  to  his  reputation  to  make  public  an  account  of 
at  least  the  most  typical  and  most  original  of  his  Visions, 
which  is  really  authentic.  This,  fortunately,  we  are  in 
a  position  to  do,  since,  for  most  of  the  material,  the 
notes  taken  by  one  author  could  be  checked  by  those  of 
the  other,  and  a  considerable  number  of  them  were  read 
and  passed  as  correct  by  the  Sadhu  himself. 

VISIONS  OF  THE  JEWISH  SEERS 

The  Sadhu 's  Visions  are  of  special  interest  on  account 
of  the  light  which  they  throw  on  the  origin  and  develop 
ment  of  the  conceptions  of  Resurrection,  Judgment, 
Heaven  and  Hell.  The  traditional  ideas  on  these  and 
other  eschatological  questions  were,  in  the  main, — so  re 
cent  research  has  shown — developed  gradually  in  a  long 
series  of  Apocalyptic  writings  of  which  the  earliest  con 
siderable  instance  is  the  book  of  Daniel  (166  B.  c.)  and 
the  latest  which  matters  for  our  purpose  is  the  Revela 
tion  of  Peter  written  about  A.  D.  120  and  rediscovered 
some  years  ago  in  an  Egyptian  tomb.1 

Nearly  every  writer  in  the  series  makes  some  modifica 
tion  or  adds  some  detail  to  the  tradition.  This  revision 
of  the  tradition  always  occurs  in  the  form  of  Visions 
seen  by  the  reputed  author  of  the  book  or  of  information 
communicated  to  him  by  angelic  informants  in  a 
heavenly  sphere.  As  we  have  them,  the  Visions  have 
clearly  undergone  a  considerable  amount  of  editing  by 
the  actual  author,  and  frequently  also  by  later  hands; 
but,  that  the  Visions  were  originally  seen  as  Visions  and 

i  The  best  popular  account  of  Apocalyptic  Literature  is  R  H. 
Charles's  Between  the  Old  and  Kew  Testaments  (Home  Univer 
sity  Library). 


ECSTASY  AND  VISION  89 

were  for  that  reason  regarded  by  the  authors,  as  well  as 
by  the  readers,  as  Divine  Revelations,  is,  in  our  opinion, 
beyond  reasonable  doubt. 

Often  these  Visions  take  the  form  of  an  amplification 
or  a  new  elucidation  of  some  outstanding  text  or  leading 
idea  in  an  Old  Testament  Prophet  or  of  some  Vision  of 
an  earlier  Apocalyptist.  They  contain  much  that  is 
trivial  and  much  that  is  fantastic,  but,  for  all  that,  it 
was  through  this  channel  that  the  great  ideas  of  Judg 
ment  and  Eternal  Life  first  became  established  in  that 
later  phase  of  Jewish  religion  out  of  which  Christianity 
arose.  The  point,  however,  which  it  most  concerns  us 
now  to  notice  is  that  this  revelation — or,  if  one  prefers 
to  call  it  so,  this  discovery — was  attained  to  by  men  of 
intense  religious  devotion  who  were  passionately  seeking 
for  some  reconciliation  of  the  facts  of  life  with  the  good 
ness  of  God.  They  found  it  in  conceptions  of  the  nature 
of  life  beyond  the  grave  which,  with  each  generation  of 
Apocalyptists,  became  progressively  more  satisfactory 
both  morally  and  religiously,  than  the  traditional  views 
of  their  time. 

Now,  as  has  been  already  pointed  out,  the  Sadhu,  like 
the  Apocalyptists,  largely  thinks  in  pictures;  and,  in 
general,  his  world-view  on  its  intellectual  side,  is  in  many 
ways  far  nearer  to  that  of  the  early  Jewish  writers  than 
it  is  to  ours.  He  too  is  faced  with  the  problem  of 
reconciling  the  goodness  of  God — a  problem  made  more 
difficult  to  him  than  it  was  to  them,  precisely  because  he 
sees  God  always  in  terms  of  Christ — with  traditional 
conceptions  of  the  after-life.  And  to  him,  as  to  them, 
difficulties  are  solved  by  modifications  of  traditional 
conceptions  which  come  to  him  in  the  form  of  Visions. 

"St.  John,"  says  the  Sadhu,  "did  not  use  the  word 


90  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

'ecstasy';  he  said  'in  the  spirit,'  but  he  meant  the  same 
thing. ' '  No  one  would  repudiate  more  vehemently  than 
the  Sadhu  himself  any  suggestion  that  his  utterances 
should  be  put  on  a  level  with  those  of  Scripture ;  but  his 
claim  to  have  enjoyed  a  spiritual  experience  which,  if  not 
identical  with,  is  at  least  closely  analogous  to  that  of  the 
author  of  the  Apocalypse  is,  we  feel  sure,  one  which  de 
serves  very  serious  consideration.  But,  if  so,  it  follows 
that  a  study  of  the  Sadhu 's  experience  will  throw  light 
on  the  psychological  mechanism  through  and  by  means 
of  which  religious  truth  was  mediated  to  certain  of  the 
Biblical  writers. 

If  we  bear  in  mind  that  Truth  is  quite  a  different 
thing  from  the  particular  psychological  mechanism  by 
which  it  is  apprehended,  and  also  that  any  revelation  of 
the  Divine  must  be  conditioned  by  the  mental  outlook, 
culture  and  general  experience  of  the  recipient,  we  shall 
not  be  inclined  to  deny  that  Visions  may  be  a  genuine 
revelation  of  truth.  All  nowadays  would  admit  that 
any  conception  we  may  form  of  the  nature  of  the  future 
life  must  necessarily  be  of  a  symbolic  character.  The 
traditional1  doctrines  of  Heaven,  Hell  and  Judgment 
are  admitted  to  be  symbolic.  The  Visions  of  the  Sadhu, 
in  so  far  as  they  touch  on  these  matters,  are  no  less  sym 
bolic;  but,  if  we  mistake  not,  their  symbolism  is  more 
deeply  Christian— and,  if  so,  they  are,  by  comparison 
with  the  traditional  views,  an  advance  in  the  apprehen 
sion  of  Divine  truth. 

i  By  "traditional"  I  mean  the  doctrines  taught  by  practically 
all  Christian  theologians  up  to  fifty  years  ago.  Modern  research 
shows  that  these  largely  misrepresent  the  New  Testament  con 
ceptions.  Cf.  the  essay  "The  Bible  and  Hell"  in  Immortality,  ed. 
B.  H.  Streeter  (Macmillan.) 


ECSTASY  AND  VISION  91 

We  are  far  from  maintaining  that  Visions  are  the 
only,  or  even  the  best,  means  of  attaining  to  a  knowledge 
of  religious  Truth.  Quite  the  contrary.  The  majority 
of  the  Hebrew  Prophets,  the  Psalmist,  St.  Paul,  not  to 
mention  Christ  Himself,  seem  to  have  derived  very  lit 
tle  of  their  teaching  from  this  source.  And  in  regard  to 
the  eschatological  subjects  dealt  with  in  the  Sadhu's 
Visions,  the  more  valuable  of  his  conclusions  have  been 
anticipated  by  liberal  theologians  solely  by  the  use  of 
rational  reflection  on  the  philosophical,  moral  and  critical 
issues  involved.  We  read  him  a  passage  from  a  recent 
volume  on  Immortality  which  closely  resembled  some 
thing  in  one  of  his  Visions,  remarking  that  it  was  curious 
that  the  writer  should  by  these  methods  have  reached  a 
conclusion  so  very  like  that  which  had  been  given  him 
in  a  Vision.  He  replied,  "I  am  not  at  all  surprised. 
Truth  is  one;  but  different  men  may  attain  it  by  differ 
ent  paths."  Just  so,  all  we  are  concerned  to  suggest  is 
that,  to  the  Sadhu  as  to  the  Apocalyptists,  truths  have 
come  by  way  of  Visions,  which  to  men  of  their  tempera 
ment  and  with  their  intellectual  presuppositions  prob 
ably  could  not  have  come,  or  at  least  not  with  equal  force 
of  conviction,  in  any  other  way. 

HEAVEN 

There  are  three  Heavens,  so  it  was  revealed  to  the 
Sadhu  once  in  Ecstasy. 

The  First  Heaven  is  Heaven  on  earth — that  wonder 
ful  inward  peace  and  enjoyment  of  the  presence  of  Christ 
which  came  as  a  result  of  his  conversion,  and  which  has 
been  described  in  a  previous  chapter  of  this  book. 

The  Second  Heaven  is  an  intermediate  state ;  it  is  the 


92  SADHU  SUNDAE  SINGH 

Paradise  of  which  Christ  spoke  on  the  Cross  to  the  re 
pentant  thief.  Here  dwell  for  a  time  souls  who  are  not 
yet  sufficiently  advanced  in  the  spiritual  life  to  enter  the 
Third  Heaven  when  they  die.  Here,  as  He  said  to  the 
thief,  they  are  with  Christ ;  but  they  do  not  actually  see 
Christ,  though  they  feel  His  influence,  as  if  waves  of 
light  were  proceeding  from  him,  and  hear,  as  it  were,  a 
heavenly  music. 

The  Third  Heaven  is  Heaven  proper,  as  it  might  be 
styled.  To  this  all  righteous  people  will  ultimately  at 
tain;  but  it  is  granted  to  a  certain  few,  of  whom  the 
Sadhu  is  privileged  to  be  one,  to  make  short  visits  there 
during  their  earthly  life.  "I  understood,"  said  the 
Sadhu,  ''what  St.  Paul  meant  when  he  said,  'Whether 
in  the  body  or  out  of  the  body  I  know  not/  because 
when  I  found  myself  there  I  seemed  to  have  a  body  with 
form  and  shape,  but  all  made,  as  it  were,  of  light.  But 
when  I  touched  it  (here  he  clasped  his  left  arm  with  his 
hand)  I  felt  nothing.  This  is  what  St.  Paul  speaks  of 
as  a  spiritual  body. "  "In  Heaven  I  see  not  with  bodily 
but  with  spiritual  eyes,  and  I  was  told  that  these  spir 
itual  eyes  are  the  same  as  those  which  all  men  will  use 
after  permanently  leaving  the  body." 

To  all  the  Visions  there  is  a  constant  background.  It 
reflects,  indeed  it  is  the  convincing  proof — if  further 
proof  were  needed — of  the  wholly  Christocentric  charac 
ter  of  the  Sadhu 's  Mysticism. 

1 1  Christ  on  His  throne  is  always  in  the  center,  a  figure 
ineffable  and  indescribable.  The  face  as  I  see  it  in 
Ecstasy,  with  my  spiritual  eyes,  is  very  much  the  same 
as  I  saw  it  at  my  conversion  with  my  bodily  eyes.  He 
has  scars  with  blood  flowing  from  them.  The  scars  are 
not  ugly  but  glowing  and  beautiful.  He  has  a  beard  on 


ECSTASY  AND  VISION  93 

His  face.  The  long  hair  of  His  head  is  like  gold,  like 
glowing  light.  His  face  is  like  the  sun,  but  its  light 
does  not  dazzle  ine.  It  is  a  sweet  face,  always  smiling— 
a  loving  glorious  smile.  Christ  is  not  terrifying  at  all." 

"Arid  all  around  the  throne  of  Christ,  extending  to 
infinite  distances,  are  multitudes  of  glorious  spiritual 
Beings.  Some  of  them  are  saints,  some  of  them  angels. 
These  are  indistinguishable.  'The  difference,'  they  told 
me,  'is  not  important:  we  are  all  one  here.'  They  all 
look  younger  brothers  of  Christ.  They  are  all  glorified, 
but  His  glory  is  far  more  glorious  than  their  glory,  and 
they  differ  among  themselves  in  decree  of  glory,  some 
thing  like  a  difference  of  color,  but  not  quite  that. 
Their  clothes  are,  as  it  were,  made  of  light,  not  dazzling 
but  many-colored.  There  are  more  colors  there  than  in 
this  world.  There  is  nothing  here  so  beautiful,  not  even 
diamonds  and  precious  stones.  When  they  speak  to  me 
they  put  their  thoughts  into  my  heart  in  a  single  mo 
ment  ;  jiiKt  as  on  earth  one  sometimes  knows  what  a  per 
son  is  going  to  say  before  he  says  it.  I  did  not  have  to 
learn  the  language  of  the  spiritual  world.  When  we 
leave  the  body  and  enter  that  world,  we  speak  it  as  easily 
and  naturally  as  a  new-born  baby  breathes  the  moment 
it  enters  this  world,  though  it  has  not  done  such  a  thing 
before." 

"In  these  visions  we  have  most  wonderful  talks.  This 
is  the  real  Communion  of  Saints  which  is  spoken  of  in 
the  Apostles'  Creed.  We  talk  about  spiritual  things, 
and  problems  which  no  one  here  can  solve.  This  good 
company  solves  them  easily.  There  are  very  many 
things  which  I  see  and  hear  there  and  of  which  I 
have  a  clear  picture  in  my  mind,  but  I  can't  ex 
press  them  even  in  Hindustani,  much  less  in  English, 


94  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

and  some  of  them  are  things  that  it  would  be  no  use  even 
trying  to  express,  because  their  beauty  would  be  lost  if 
they  could  be  taken  out  of  that  world  and  put  into  this. 
But  I  always  carry  with  me  fresh  and  vivid  memories  of 
these  things  also.  Another  feature  of  that  world  is,  that 
one  never  gets  tired  of  it,  one  never  wants  something  dif 
ferent.  In  this  world  one  gets  tired  after  three  or  four 
hours  even  at  times  of  the  highest  experience  of  peace, 
but  one  never  tires  in  the  heavenly  world.  At  a  certain 
convention  I  attended  there  was  a  simple  village  Chris 
tian  who  was  praying.  He  was  filled  with  the  spirit: 
full  of  peace  and  happiness;  and,  trembling  with  excess 
of  joy,  he  prayed,  'Lord,  I  thank  Thee,  I  thank  Thee,  but 
no  more  or  I  die.  Enough!  Enough!'  I  was  very 
much  surprised  at  his  desiring  to  bring  this  state  to  an 
end.  Then  I  thought  of  the  story  of  Moses  and  how  God 
told  him,  'No  man  can  see  my  face  and  live/  and  he  was 
shown  only  the  back  part  of  the  Lord.  The  spirit  can 
stand  these  exalted  experiences,  but  this  body  cannot.'7 1 
"There  is  music,  but  no  musical  instrument.  I  looked 
about  for  an  instrument,  but  there  was  none  to  be  seen. 
The  thing,  however,  which  is  most  striking  about  this 
heavenly  world  is  that  I  always  feel  at  home.  There  is 
nothing  I  could  wish  otherwise,  nothing  awkward.  I 
was  told  that  if  any  two  persons  in  that  world,  however 
far  apart,  wished  to  come  together,  they  could  do  so  in  a 
moment  of  thought.  I  always  find  myself  sitting  among 
the  others,  perfectly  familiarly  and  naturally." 

i  We  are  inclined  to  think  that  this  last  illustration  of  the 
Sadhu's  is  somewhat  misleading.  The  sense  of  exaltation  charac 
teristic  of  a  revival  meeting  seems  to  us  to  be  really  a  different 
type  of  spiritual  experience  from  that  which  he  describes  as  his 


ECSTASY  AND  VISION  95 

"  Anyone  who  has  been  there  for  one  second  says  to 
himself,  *  This  is  the  place  on  which  I  have  set  my  heart, 
here  I  am  completely  satisfied.  No  sorrow,  no  pain,  only 
love,  waves  of  love,  perfect  happiness.'  (As  he  recalled 
the  vision,  the  Sadhu's  face  was  radiant.)  And  it  is  for 
ever,  not  merely  for  a  thousand  years.  No  one  there 
claims  any  part  of  it  for  his  own.  All  say  'our  home.' 
No  words  can  express  it.  I  think  that  is  why  St.  Paul 
said  that  he  heard  things  unutterable.  In  that  world 
there  are  many  things  which  correspond  to  things  of 
beauty  in  this  world,  mountains,  trees  and  flowers,  but 
with  all  imperfection  taken  away.  The  mountains,  trees 
and  flowers  of  this  earth  are  only  the  shadow  of  what  I 
see  there.  Everything  there,  even  inanimate  objects, 
are  so  made  that  they  continually  give  praise,  and  all 
quite  spontaneously.  I  can  see  millions  of  miles,  I  see 
mansions  and  walls,  but  these  nowhere  impede  the  view, 
and  if  one  is  in  the  midst  of  a  crowd  it  is  the  same  All 
are  in  a  kind  of  a  way  transparent.  One  can  see  right 
through  people ;  so  no  one  hides  their  love  or  what  is  in 
their  heart. 

' '  There  we  realize  not  only  the  desires  we  have  known 
in  this  life,  but  desires,  which  we  did  not  even  know  that 
we  had,  are  opened  up  and  realized,  because  there  is 
everything  to  satisfy  them.  There  I  am  satisfied,  there 
there  is  nothing  more  to  ask.  It  is  wonderful !  That  is 
our  home. 

"I  asked  one  of  the  Spirits  the  meaning  of  the  passage 
in  St.  John :  '  I  said,  Ye  are  gods. '  I  was  told  that  man 
has  innumerable  desires,  and  that  these  show  that  he  is 
going  to  make  infinite  progress  when  in  Heaven.  There 
we  have  more  capacities  than  we  have  hairs  of  our  head 
here. 


96  SADHU  SUNDAB  SINGH 

"  Another  time  I  asked  what  Christ  meant  by  saying, 
'Be  ye  perfect  even  as  your  Father  in  Heaven  is  perfect.7 
He  did  not  say  'Be  perfect  as  the  angels  or  the  prophets.' 
I  had  been  puzzled  by  this.  Does  it  mean  that  we  shall 
become  God;  and,  if  so,  shall  we  rebel  against  Him? 
They  told  me  there  that  God  wants  us  to  be  equal  to  Him, 
because  Love  always  wants  an  object  for  affection  equal 
to  itself.  Just  as  men  are  not  satisfied  with  loving  ani 
mals  merely,  so  God  wants  us  to  be  equal  to  Him.  But  if 
we  became  so,  we  could  not  rebel :  for  we  should  then  have 
an  infinite  knowledge  of  the  Love  of  God,  and  that  would 
bring  with  it  infinite  thankfulness.  There  is  no  jeal 
ousy  in  Heaven.  Our  Heavenly  Father  wants  us  to  be 
made  equal  to  Him.  There  is  no  jealousy  in  Heaven. 
There  are  differences  of  degree,  but  there  are  no  dis 
agreements.  Every  one  is  always  on  every  one  else's 
side,  and  those  who  are  low  down  in  the  scale  feel  so 
proud  that  their  elder  brothers  are  so  big. 

"In  Ecstasy,"  we  asked,  "have  you  ever  seen  visions 
like  those  in  the  Revelation  of  St.  John?" 

"Yes,  I  have  seen  many  things  like  the  visions  at  the 
end  of  Revelation;  and  I  thought  when  I  saw  them,  'Our 
elder  brother  two  thousand  years  ago  has  been  visiting 
these  same  places/  " 

"Did  you  ever  see  visions  like  those  in  the  middle 
part  of  Revelation?" 

"No,  never.  Only  like  the  end,  in  particular  the  pass 
age  describing  the  pure  river  of  water  of  Life  clear  as 
crystal,  proceeding  out  of  the  throne  of  God  and  of  the 
Lamb.  When  I  saw  these  things  I  felt  that  I  wanted  to 
fall  down  and  worship  those  who  showed  them  to  me, 
but  they  said  to  me,  'No,  worship  Him,'  pointing  to 
Christ. 


ECSTASY  AND  VISION  97 

"I  said,  'Where  is  the  capital  of  Heaven?  .  .  .  Where 
He  is  sitting?'  They  told  me,  'No,  in  every  heart  that 
loves  Him,  because  there  He  reigns,  not  by  sword  or  by 
force,  but  by  Love  in  the  heart.  If  there  were  no  living 
souls  there  would  be  no  reign.  The  royal  seal  is  the 
image  of  Christ  in  the  heart;  and  where  this  is  in  the 
heart  it  extends  at  the  same  time  over  the  whole  body. 
St.  John  says  that  the  Name  of  the  Lamb  is  written  on 
the  foreheads  of  the  Saints.  I  looked,  but  I  did  not  see 
anything  written  there,  but  I  saw  that  their  whole  face 
looked  like  that  of  Christ,  so  I  understood  that  that  was 
'what  St.  John  meant." 

"Did  you  ever  see  Cherubim  or  other  winged  creatures 
such  as  are  described  in  Ezekiel  and  in  Revelation?" 

"No.  I  think  that  when  these  spoke  of  winged  crea 
tures  it  was  due  to  the  difficulty  of  finding  human 
language  to  explain  what  they  saw.  I  saw  waves  of 
light  shining  out  from  the  spirits  in  Heaven,  and  at  first 
these  looked  rather  like  wings,  but  they  were  not  really 
wings. 

"The  faces  of  all  the  spirits  whom  I  see  in  Heaven 
look  like  Christ,  but  in  a  lesser  degree ;  just  as  the  image 
of  the  Sun  is  reflected  alike  in  a  number  of  water-pots. 
Christ  is  the  Image  of  God — that  image  in  which  God 
created  man — this  is  the  true  image,  but  it  is  only  im 
perfectly  stamped  on  other  men.  This  explains  that 
feeling  of  recognition  of  Christ  as  one  known  long  ago,1 

i  Cf.  p.  44.  "I  felt  when  first  I  saw  Him  as  if  there  were  some 
old  and  forgotten  connection  between  us,  as  though  He  had  said, 
but  not  in  words,  'I  am  He,  through  whom  you  were  created.*  I 
felt  something  the  same,  only  far  more  intensely,  as  I  felt  when  I 
saw  my  father  after  an  interval  of  many  years.  My  old  love  came 
back  to  me,  I  knew  I  had  been  his  before." 


98  SADHU  SUNDAE  SINGH 

which  is  experienced  by  all  on  their  first  entry  to  the 
heavenly  state.  It  shows  an  original  connection  be 
tween  man  and  Christ,  even  though  one  does  not  know 
it  before.  All  sinners  have  within  themselves  a  battered 
image  of  their  Divine  Creator,  and  so  when  converted  they 
recognize  and  fall  down  and  worship  Him.  I  have  had 
no  chance  of  meeting  others  who  have  had  Ecstasy  like 
mine,  otherwise  I  should  have  liked  to  ask  them  about 
this  experience  of  recognition. 

1  ( I  once  asked  how  far  this  heavenly  world  is  from  the 
earth.  They  told  me  they  did  not  know,  but  that  it  only 
took  one  moment  to  get  there.  I  was  surprised  that  they 
did  not  know. 

"Before  I  became  a  Christian,  whenever  I  saw  anyone 
die,  I  used  to  long  for  a  place  where  there  would  be  no 
more  death.  I  was  repelled  by  the  continual  round  of 
death  and  rebirth  implied  in  the  Hindu  doctrine  of  trans 
migration.  The  first  time  I  entered  Heaven  in  Ecstasy 
I  was  quite  certain  that  I  had  come  into  a  place  where 
there  was  no  more  death." 

THE  RESURRECTION  OF  THE  BODY 

"Did  you  learn  anything  about  the  resurrection  of  the 
body?" 

"I  was  told  there  that  Christians  leave  behind  them 
the  physical  body.  That  body  is  buried,  but  the  spir 
itual  body  that  is  within  is  then  free  to  come  out,  and  in 
this  we  go  to  the  Second  or  the  Third  Heaven  according 
to  our  state  of  development.  At  least  this  is  true  of  the 
majority  of  Christians;  but  there  are  grades  in  the 
spiritual  life,  and  in  the  case  of  some  few  who  have  lived 
very  close  to  Christ  this  physical  body  is  slowly  changed 


ECSTASY  AND  VISION  99 

and  is  taken  up  into  Heaven.  It  is  completely  spiritual 
ized,  for  flesh  and  blood  cannot  inherit  eternal  life,  but  it 
is  the  same  physical  body  only  completely  transformed. 
I  asked  them  whether  this  applied  to  Enoch  and  Elijah, 
who  were  taken  up  bodily  into  Heaven.  They  told  me 
'Yes,'  and  that  it  also  applied  to  Moses,  and  then  they 
pointed  out  to  me  Moses  and  Elijah  in  Heaven,  and  they 
told  me  that  they  appeared  at  the  Transfiguration  in  the 
same  form  and  aspect  in  which  I  saw  them  then,  for  in 
Heaven  we  no  longer  change.  God  buried  Moses,  but 
they  told  me  God's  way  of  burying  is  not  like  ours.  It 
is  to  enfold  with  a  spiritual  body.  No  one  can  enter 
into  Heaven  with  a  physical  body,  but  in  the  case  of  those 
few  that  body  is  transformed ;  and  this  is  what  happened 
to  the  Body  of  Christ. 

"But  the  majority  of  ordinary  Christians  leave  the 
physical  body  behind  and  proceed  in  their  spiritual  body 
to  the  intermediate  state  or  Second  Heaven.  Here  they 
stay,  some  a  few  days,  some  a  few  months,  some  longer, 
until  they  are  ready  for  the  Third  Heaven.  Exceptional 
people,  however,  like  St.  Francis  of  Assisi  and  the  author 
of  The  Imitation  of  Christ,  are  already  so  spiritually  ad 
vanced  that  they  enter  the  Third  Heaven  at  once. 

THE  LAST  JUDGMENT 

"I  inquired  once,  'Will  the  dead  stand  in  a  line  all  to 
gether  and  be  judged?'  I  was  told,  No;  after  leaving 
the  body  the  soul  knows  everything  that  has  happened 
to  it.  The  memory  of  it  all  is  clear  and  fresh,  and 
thereby  they  are  judged.  The  heavenly  light  shows  the 
wicked  to  themselves ;  they  see  at  once  that  they  cannot 
live  in  that  fellowship  of  saints  and  angels.  They  feel 


100 


SADHU  SUNDAE  SINGH 


so  out  of  place  there,  they  find  everything  so  uncongenial 
that  they  ask  to  be  allowed  to  go  away  from  Heaven. 
Men  are  not  turned  out  of  Heaven  by  God.  Heaven  is 
not  a  place-  with  walls  and  gates  where  you  have  to  ask 
for  a  ticket  of  admission.  The  ticket  of  admission  is  the 
life  a  man  has  led. 

"  Those  who  are  born  again  can  see  the  Kingdom  of 
Heaven x  and  feel  at  home  there,  those  who  are  not  can 
not  do  so.  This  is  the  real  judgment,  and  it  is  a 
judgment  that  is  going  on  every  day.  It  is  not  ef 
fected  by  an  act  of  God  interposing  between  ourselves 
and  Him,  it  is  internal.  The  Last  Judgment  will  be  a 
proclamation  of  the  final  result,  when  every  true  servant 
of  God  will  be  exalted  before  the  whole  creation. 

"I  was  also  told  that  in  this  world  our  spiritual  bodies 
are  inside  our  material  bodies,  and  that  when  we  sin  it 
is  like  when  we  press  with  a  point  on  paper  behind  which 
is  a  sheet  of  carbon ;  on  the  outside  of  the  paper  there  is 
a  very  slight  mark,  but  inside  there  is  a  clear  black  mark. 
Thus  our  sins  mark  and  scar  our  spiritual  bodies,  and  the 
result  of  this  will  be  seen  when,  after  death,  the  spiritual 
body  escapes  from  the  material ;  and  the  revelation  of  the 
injury  it  has  sustained  will  in  itself  be  a  large  part  of  the 
judgment. ' ' 

HELL 

"I  was  also  told  that  the  love  of  God  operates  even  in 
Hell.  God  does  not  shine  in  His  full  light,  because  those 
there  could  not  bear  it,  but  He  gradually  shows  them 
more  and  more  light,  and  by  and  by  brings  them  on  and 
moves  their  conscience  towards  something  better,  al- 

i  The  Sadhu  appears  to  interpret  the  phrase  Kingdom  of  Heaven 
as  equivalent  to  the  Third  Heaven. 


ECSTASY  AND  VISION  101 

though  they  think  that  the  desire  is  entirely  their  own. 
Thus  God  works  on  their  minds  from  within,  something 
in  the  same  way,  though  in  the  opposite  direction,  as 
that  in  which   Satan  suggests  temptation  to  us  here. 
Thus,  what  with  God's  work  within  and  the  Light  with 
out,  almost  all  those  in  Hell  will  ultimately  be  brought 
to  Christ 's  feet.     It  will  perhaps  take  millions  of  ages, 
but  when  it  is  attained  they  will  be  full  of  joy  and 
thankfulness  towards  God;  though  they  will  still  be  less 
happy  than  those  who  have  accepted  Christ  on  earth. 
Thus  Hell  also  is  a  training  school,  a  place  of  preparation 
for  Home.     Those  in  Hell  know  that  it  is  not  their  home 
because  they  suffer  there.    Men  were  not  created  for 
Hell  and  therefore  do  not  enjoy  it,  and,  when  there,  de 
sire  to  escape  to  Heaven.     They  do  so,  but  they  find 
Heaven  even  more  uncongenial  than  Hell,  so  they  re 
turn.     But  this  convinces  them  that  there  is  something 
wrong  in  their  lives,  and  thus  they  are  gradually  led  to 
repentance.     At  least,  that  is  the  case  with  the  majority, 
but  there  are  some  few  personalities,  Satan  for  instance, 
in  regard  to  whom  I  was  told,  'Don't  ask  about  them.' 
And  so  I  didn't  like  to  ask,  but  I  hoped  that  for  them 
also  there  was  some  hope. 

"They  also  told  me  that  the  Saints  help  in  the  work 
of  saving  souls  in  Hell,  because  there  can  be  no  idleness 
in  Heaven.  Those  in  Hell  will  ultimately  be  brought  to 
Heaven  like  the  prodigal  son,  but  with  regard  to  the  ul 
timate  fate  of  a  certain  number  you  must  not  ask." 
The  Sadhu  is  inclined  to  think  that  perhaps  these  few 
will  be  annihilated. 

"Once  I  said,  'So  many  people  will  be  lost  because 
they  have  not  heard  of  Christ.'  They  said,  {The  con 
trary  will  be  the  case ;  very  few  will  be  lost. '  There  is  a 


102  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

kind  of  heavenly  joke,  no,  joke  is  not  a  good  word  for  it. 
'Very  few  will  be  lost  but  many  will  be  saved.  It  is  so, 
but  don't  tell/  they  said,  as  it  were,  in  jest,  ' because  it 
will  make  men  careless,  and  we  want  them  to  enjoy  the 
First  Heaven — that  is  the  Heaven  on  earth — as  well.'  ' 

"If  there  were  no  hope  for  all  the  non- Christians  in 
the  world  and  all  the  Christians  who  die  in  sin,  God 
would  stop  creating  men.  We  must  do  our  part  here  on 
earth  to  save  sinners,  but  if  they  refuse  we  need  not  be 
without  hope  for  them. ' ' 

The  Sadhu's  "  universalism "  recalls  the  famous 
"Shewing"  to  Mother  Juliana  of  Norwich,  "All  manner 
of  things  shall  be  well,"  and  her  comments  thereon — 
except  that  her  respect  for  the  authority  of  the  Church 
precludes  her  making  any  suggestion  how  this  may  be 
possible.1  The  Sadhu  faithfully  obeys  the  injunction, 
1 '  Don 't  tell. ' '  In  his  popular  teachings,  as  we  shall  see 
in  the  next  chapter,  he  stresses  the  need  of  repentance, 
and  the  certainty  of  immediate  judgment  in  the  next 
life,  but  he  never  speaks  of  his  hope  of  ultimate  salva 
tion  even  for  the  unrepentant. 

OTHER  VISIONS 

The  Sadhu 's  visions  are  not  only,  or  even  mainly,  con 
cerned  with  Eschatology.  Not  a  few  of  the  parables 
and  arguments  he  uses  in  his  preaching  appear  to  have 
come  to  him  this  way.  Sometimes  also  he  finds  in 
Ecstasy  answers  to  questions  of  Scriptural  exegesis  which 
have  puzzled  him. 

i  Cf .  Revelations  of  Divine  Love,  ed.  G.  Warwick,  p.  66  f . 
(Methuen). 


ECSTASY  AND  VISION  103 

We  quote  an  example  which  is  characteristic  of  the 
man  alike  in  its  uncritical  simplicity  and  its  fine  moral 
insight.  "Why  did  not  Abraham  pray  for  Lot?  God 
was  about  to  destroy  Sodom  and  Gomorrah.  Abraham 
prayed  for  others.  Why  did  he  not  pray  for  his  nephew  ? 
Why  did  he  not  say,  'Save  at  least  my  nephew?'  It 
was  because  something  was  wrong  with  Lot ;  for  though 
he  had  lived  in  the  place  for  years,  he  could  not  make 
even  ten  men  righteous.  He  had  not  done  his  duty.  So 
Abraham  was  ashamed  to  pray  for  him ;  but  God  remem 
bered  Abraham,  and  for  his  sake  Lot  was  saved.  In  the 
same  way  Christians  may  be  good,  and  yet  if  they  are 
not  trying  to  save  others  Christ  will  be  ashamed  to  inter 
cede  for  them  as  Abraham  was  ashamed  to  intercede  for 
Lot.  But,"  he  added  rather  curiously,  "I  don't  often 
mention  this  as  there  are  so  many  people  nowadays  who 
do  not  believe  that  such  men  as  Abraham  and  Lot  ever 
existed." 

"On  another  occasion  I  asked,  'Whence  is  Life?'  I 
was  told  that  the  one  source  of  Life  is  behind  everything. 
Our  clothes  are  warm,  because  the  body  which  they  con 
ceal  is  warm.  There  is  no  heat  in  the  clothes,  that  comes 
from  the  body  within.  Just  so  the  life  in  all  living  crea 
tures  is  derived  from  the  one  source  of  Life  behind. 
Their  life  is  from  the  Giver  of  life.  Again,  just  as 
our  body  is  hidden  by  our  clothes,  but  the  shape  of  the 
clothes  as  well  as  the  heat  comes  from  the  body  inside, 
so  all  the  vegetables  and  animals  that  we  see  are  but 
the  outward  forms  upheld  by  the  Giver  of  life. 

"I  saw  waves  of  light  and  love  coming  out  from  Christ, 
in  whom  dwelleth  the  fullness  of  the  Godhead  embodied. 
These  give  spiritual  life.  Also  in  a  mysterious  way  these 


104  SADHU  SUNDAE  SINGH 

waves  of  life  and  love  give  life  to  living  creatures  of  all 
grades.  Matter  and  motion  cannot  produce  life.  The 
source  of  life  is  life. 

' '  I  was  told  that  the  waves  of  light  which  I  saw  were 
the  Holy  Spirit.  Just  as  the  moon  seems  to  be  straight 
overhead  wherever  we  stand,  so  the  glorious  Christ  with 
the  waves  coming  out  of  Him  was  seen  here,  there  and 
everywhere.  I  saw  crowds  of  people  with  glorious 
bodies,  all  saying,  "He  is  near  me,'  'He  is  near  me.'  ' 

THE  NATURE  OF  THE  ECSTATIC  STATE 

The  student  of  Mysticism  will  desire  some  further 
materials  if  he  is  to  form  a  scientifically  considered  esti 
mate  of  the  nature  and  significance  of  the  Sadhu's  Vis 
ions.  Accordingly  we  now  proceed  to  set  forth  in  de 
tail  the  Sadhu's  own  account  of  the  nature  of  the  ecstatic 
state. 

"A  friend  once  asked,  'What  is  Ecstasy?'  I  said, 
'There  are  pearls  in  the  sea,  but  to  get  them  you  have 
to  dive  to  the  bottom.  Ecstasy  is  a  dive  to  the  bottom 
of  spiritual  things.  It  is  not  a  trance;  but  it  is  like  a 
dive,  because,  as  a  diver  has  to  stop  breathing,  so  in 
Ecstasy  the  outward  senses  must  be  stopped. ' 

1  'Whenever  I  am  alone  always  something  new  comes  to 
me,  and  that  in  a  language  without  words;  I  feel  sur 
rounded,  as  it  were,  with  a  wonderful  atmosphere,  then 
something  speaks  in  my  heart,  then  I  am  in  the  state  of 
Ecstasy.  No  words  are  spoken,  but  I  see  all  pictured; 
in  a  moment  problems  are  solved,  easily  and  with  pleas 
ure,  and  with  no  burden  to  my  brain. ' ' 

In  his  early  days  as  a  Christian,  Ecstasy  ^was  a  com 
paratively  rare  occurrence.  Now,  although  he  does  not 


ECSTASY  AND  VISION  105 

know  beforehand  when  he  will  enter  into  it,  it  is  an  al 
most  everyday  experience — or  rather  it  might  be  so,  did 
he  not  hold  himself  back.  If  he  thought  only  of  his  own 
pleasure  he  would  spend  all  his  life  thus  with  Christ,  but 
he  wants  to  help  men.  Ecstasy  commonly  ensues  after 
about  twenty  minutes  of  prayer  and  meditation — some 
times  while  on  his  knees  but  more  often  in  a  sitting 
posture. 

This  frequency  of  the  Sadhu's  Ecstasies  is  a  notable 
fact.  So  far  as  our  information  goes,  with  the  Biblical 
writers  and  with  most  of  the  great  Saints,  Visions  and 
Revelations  were  of  comparatively  rare  occurrence. 

While  in  the  state  of  ecstasy,  which  sometimes  lasts  for 
several  hours,  he  loses  all  perception  of  the  external 
world; l  and  he  has  no  sense  of  the  lapse  of  time,  "there 
is  no  past  and  no  future ;  everything  is  present. ' ' 

' '  Once  a  friend  whom  I  had  told  not  to  disturb  me  if 
he  found  me  in  Ecstasy  came  in  and  found  me  with  eyes 
wide  open  smiling  and  all  but  laughing:  not  knowing  I 
was  in  Ecstasy  he  spoke  to  me,  but  as  I  did  not  hear  him 
he  desisted  and  told  me  about  it  afterwards.  On  another 
occasion  I  went  into  Ecstasy  under  a  tree.  When  I 
came  back  to  ordinary  life  I  discovered  that  I  had  been 
stung  all  over  with  hornets,  so  that  my  body  was  all 
swollen,  but  I  had  felt  nothing." 

Once  he  was  announced  to  speak  at  a  meeting  at  eight 
o'clock  in  the  morning.  He  began  his  prayer  about 
five  o  'clock  in  the  morning  and  involuntarily  entered  the 
ecstatic  state.  When  he  came  out  of  Ecstasy  he  found 
it  was  nine  o'clock.  He  had  forgotten  all  about  the 
meeting.  The  people,  who  had  gathered  in  large  num- 

i  This  fact  is  vouched  for  by  more  than  one  friend  of  the  Sadhu 
with  whom  we  have  discussed  the  matter. 


106  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

bers  to  hear  his  message,  were  wondering  why  he,  who 
was  generally  so  punctual,  did  not  appear.  After  a 
while  they  dispersed  with  disappointment.  He  was  very 
sorry  that  this  should  have  happened,  though  he  did  not, 
or  rather  could  not,  explain  to  them  the  reason.  "I  do 
not  generally  speak  of  these  experiences  to  others,  be 
cause  they  would  not  understand  me,  but  think  I  am 
foolish."  While  in  cities  he  is  very  careful  and  checks 
himself  from  "slipping" — to  use  his  own  phrase — into 
Ecstasy.  On  the  Himalayas,  with  more  leisure  at  his 
command  and  with  no  definite  appointments  before  him, 
there  is  no  need  for  this  restraint. 

"Do  you  find,"  we  asked,  "that  you  more  often  go  into 
an  Ecstasy  when  you  are  feeling  physically  strained  and 
tired  or  when  you  are  physically  fresh  ? ' ' 

"Both.  Perhaps  more  often  when  physically  fresh; 
but  if  it  happens  to  me  when  I  am  physically  strained 
and  tired  out,  or,  as  I  recollect  on  more  than  one  occa 
sion,  when  I  was  feeling  despondent  because  people  had 
refused  to  listen  to  my  preaching,  the  result  is  that  I  feel 
completely  refreshed  and  invigorated.  This  is  another 
of  the  reasons  which  proves  to  me  that  it  is  not  an  ordi 
nary  trance.  "When  I  used  to  practice  Yoga  there  was 
no  permanent  refreshment,  though  the  trance  might  be 
temporarily  comforting.  Indeed  the  great  contrast  be 
tween  the  state  of  Ecstasy  and  the  Yogic  states  which  I 
cultivated  before  becoming  a  Christian  lies  in  the  fact 
that  in  Ecstasy  there  is  always  the  same  feeling  of  calm 
satisfaction  and  being  at  home,  whatever  had  been  my 
state  of  mind  before  going  into  Ecstasy.  Whereas  in 
the  Yogic  state,  if  before  the  trance  I  was  feeling  sad,  I 
used  to  weep  in  the  trance,  if  cheerful  I  would  smile. 
Also  after  an  Ecstasy  I  always  feel  strengthened,  invig- 


ECSTASY  AND  VISION  107 

orated  and  refreshed.     This  result  did  not  follow  Yoga. 

"The  object  of  the  Yogic  trance  is  not  to  satisfy  the 
heart  but  the  head. 

"The  state  of  Ecstasy  is  not,  as  I  believe  Yoga  to  be, 
the  result  of  self -hypnotism.  I  never  try  to  get  into  it. 
Nor  do  I  think  on  the  same  subject  for  an  hour  together 
in  order  to  induce  the  state,  as  those  do  who  practice 
Yoga. 

"Ecstasy  is  not  a  disease  or  a  form  of  hallucination. 
It  is  a  waking,  not  a  dream  state.  I  can  think  in  it 
steadily.  At  normal  times  the  flow  of  my  thoughts  is 
disturbed  by  distractions,  but  not  in  the  ecstatic  state. 
Generally  a  thought  remains  in  my  mind  only  for  a  min 
ute,  being  quickly  followed  by  other  thoughts ;  whereas, 
in  the  state  of  Ecstasy,  I  am  able  to  think  for  a  long  time 
on  the  same  subject.  I  am  inclined  to  believe  that  this 
is  because  in  that  state  the  mental  activities  are  no  longer 
impeded  by  the  material  brain. 

"While  in  Ecstasy  I  think  on  such  themes  as  the  love 
of  God,  and  at  the  same  time  listen  to  spirits,  espe 
cially  the  Holy  Spirit,  as  they  talk  to  me. 

"When  I  come  back  to  my  body  I  find  a  great  differ 
ence  between  what  I  have  seen  in  Ecstasy  and  what  I 
here  see  bodily  with  my  eyes. 

"Often  when  I  come  out  of  Ecstasy  I  think  the  whole 
world  must  bo  blind  not  to  see  what  I  see,  everything  is 
so  near  and  so  clear." 

Occasionally  he  meets  in  Heaven  people  he  has  known 
On  earth. 

"Once  in  Ecstasy  I  saw  a  man  with  a  glorious  body. 
He  was  very  happy.  He  asked  me,  'Do  you  recognize 
me?'  I  said,  'No/  'Don't  you  remember  seeing  me?' 
I  said,  'No.'  Then  he  said,  'I  was  in  a  Leper  Asylum 


108  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

which  you  visited.  On  account  of  leprosy  I  had  lost  my 
fingers  and  my  face  was  disfigured.  Now  I  am  no  more 
a  leper.  I  have  received  this  glorious  life  through  Jesus 
Christ.  I  left  that  body  and  entered  into  this  life  on 
February  22,  1908.'  Afterwards  I  verified  the  facts 
and  found  them  to  be  true.  He  had  died  on  the  day  and 
at  the  place  mentioned  in  the  vision." 

One  is  reminded  by  this  last  incident  of  the  famous 
story  of  the  Monk  of  Evesham,  who  went  into  a  trance 
lasting  three  days,  during  which  he  reported  that  his 
spirit  had  visited  Heaven,  Hell  and  Purgatory.  In  Pur 
gatory  he  saw  the  soul  of  a  certain  Abbess  whose  death 
had  taken  place  during  those  three  days,  although  news 
of  it  had  not  yet  reached  Evesham  at  the  time  he  re 
ported  what  he  had  seen.  His  contemporaries  regarded 
this  as  conclusive  evidence  that  his  spirit  had  actually 
been  into  Purgatory — where,  of  course,  the  lady's  soul 
would  then  be.  The  facts,  however,  admit  another  in 
terpretation.  Certain  individuals,  when  in  a  state  of 
trance,  are  peculiarly  susceptible  to  telepathic  influ 
ences.  If  the  monk  was  one  of  these,  thought  transfer 
ence,  either  from  the  dying  Abbess  herself  or  from  her 
entourage,  would  explain  his  knowledge  of  her  death  and, 
by  implication,  therefore,  of  her  present  whereabouts. 

"You  have  explained,"  we  said,  "that  hearing  what 
is  spoken  in  the  spirit  world  is  quite  a  different  thing 
from  earthly  hearing.  Is  there  the  same  kind  of  differ 
ence  between  heavenly  and  earthly  seeing?" 

This  was  obviously  a  question  the  answer  to  which 
was  perfectly  clear  in  the  Sadhu's  own  mind,  but  it  was 
one  that  he  felt  could  not  be  expressed  in  human  lan 
guage  or  by  analogies  drawn  from  this  world.  The  im 
pression  which  he  conveyed  was  that  the  analogy  be- 


ECSTASY  AND  VISION  109 

tween  spiritual  and  bodily  seeing  was  rather  closer  than 
that  between  spiritual  and  bodily  hearing  which  he  had 
previously  described.  The  visions  and  pictures  seen  in 
that  world  are  like  things  seen  in  this,  but  with  a  differ 
ence.  "When  in  this  world  we  see  mountains,  trees  and 
flowers,  we  see  and  admire.  In  the  world  also  we  see 
and  admire  objects  of  the  same  sort,  only  there  a  kind  of 
force  comes  from  them  which  gives  one  an  impulse  to 
praise  the  Creator  of  it  all,  and  that  without  any  kind  of 
effort,  but  simply  as  a  spontaneous  expression  of  the  full 
ness  of  joy.  In  this  world  when  I  see  flowers  and  other 
beautiful  things,  I  admire,  but  they  are  passive.  But  in 
the  spiritual  world  which  I  visit  in  Ecstasy  it  is  the  other 
way  round.  They  are  active,  I  am  passive. ' ' 

We  tried  to  discover  whether  the  Sadhu  was  conscious 
of  any  development  in  the  type  or  quality  of  his  Visions. 
But  except  for  the  fact  that  since  the  Fast  they  had  be 
come  more  frequent  there  seems  to  have  been  little 
change.  Indeed  he  himself  regards  the  richness  of  the 
revelations  he  received  at  a  time  when  his  own  Christian 
experience  was  immature  as  a  proof  that  the  knowledge 
so  obtained  is  derived  from  an  external  source  and  is  not 
merely  a  dream  product  of  his  own  mind. 

AN  UNIQUE  PHENOMENON 

In  the  Sadhu 's  account  of  his  Ecstasies  there  are  two 
important  points  which  it  will  suffice  to  recall  without 
further  comment — the  frequency  of  their  occurrence,  and 
the  fact  that  they  are  never  followed  by  exhaustion  but 
always  by  refreshment,  both  physical  and  mental.  There 
are  four  others  which  demand  consideration. 

First,  there  is  one  feature  in  which  his  experiences  dif- 


110  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

fer  from  those  of  the  Apocalyptic  writers  and — to  the 
best  of  our  knowledge — of  the  Western  Mystics  in  gen 
eral.  The  Sadhu  does  not  in  Ecstasy  either  travel  from 
place  to  place  himself,  visiting  Hell  in  person,  for  in 
stance,  nor  does  he  see  a  series  of  vividly  dramatic  pic 
tures  of  which  the  interpretation  is  either  obvious  at  once 
or  is  given  by  an  angel  interpreter.  One  might  say,  in 
deed,  that  he  has  only  a  single  Vision — the  Third  Heaven 
— a  Vision  evidently  including  within  itself  an  inexhaus 
tible  variety  yet  always  essentially  the  same.  The  in 
formation  and  ideas  which  are  communicated  to  him  in 
Ecstasy  are  not  presented  as  separate-  visions  but  rather 
as  verbal  communications  from  different  spirits  whom  he 
meets  on  different  occasions  within  the  circuit,  so  to 
speak,  of  the  one  great  constant  Vision. 

Secondly,  the  Sadhu  is  far  more  concerned  than  are 
the  Apocalyptic  writers  to  affirm  and  reaffirm  the  in 
effable  character  of  his  experience — the  words  are  words 
but  they  are  neither  heard  nor  spoken,  the  sights  are 
seen  and  yet  not  as  if  with  eyes.  ' '  There  is  no  language 
which  will  express  the  things  which  I  see  and  hear  in 
the  spiritual  world,  I  am  like  a  dumb  man  who  can  taste 
and  enjoy  the  sweets  that  are  given  him,  but  cannot  ex 
press  or  explain  it  to  others."  He  is  not  only  aware, 
but  is  urgent  to  insist,  that  the  sights  and  words  he  re 
ports  are  but  a  shadowy  reflection  of  the  reality — in 
other  words,  that  they  are  essentially  symbolic. 

Thirdly,  Ecstasy  to  him  is  not,  he  says,  a  dream  state 
— by  which  he  means  a  state  in  which  haphazard  discon 
nected  scenes  and  events  pass  meaninglessly  by — but  a 
waking  state,  a  state  of  concentrated  capacity  of  thought, 
of  clearer  and  more  continuous  thought  than  he  is  capa 
ble  of  in  ordinary  life.  The  fact  that  in  Ecstasy  he  can 


ECSTASY  AND  VISION  111 

be  so  unconscious  of  external  things  as  not  to  feel,  for 
instance,  the  sting  of  hornets,  confirms  this  statement. 
From  sleep  one  can  be  easily  awakened ;  but  his  Ecstasy 
is  evidently,  in  its  psychological  aspect,  a  state  of  what 
is  called  "temporary  dissociation"  and  it  is  one  charac 
terized  by  intense  concentration  of  thought  and  emotion. 
We  may  compare  Wordsworth's  lines — well  known, 
not  equally,  perhaps,  well  understood — in  which  he 
speaks  of  an  apparently  frequent  and  highly  valued  ex 
perience  of  his  own  in  language  every  word  of  which 
might  have  been  used  by  the  Sadhu  to  describe  his 
Ecstasy : 

.  .  .  another  gift, 

Of  aspect  more  sublime;  that  blessed  mood, 
In  which  the  burden  of  the  mystery, 
In  which  the  heavy  and  the  weary  weight 
Of  all  this  unintelligible  world, 
Is  lightened:  that  serene  and  blessed  mood, 
In  which  the  affections  gently  lead  us  on, 
Until,  the  breath  of  this  corporeal  frame 
And  even  the  motion  of  our  human  blood 
Almost  suspended,  we  are  laid  asleep 
In  body,  and  become  a  living  soul : 
While  with  an  eye  made  quiet  by  the  power 
Of  harmony,  and  the  deep  power  of  joy, 
We  see  into  the  life  of  things.1 

Fourthly,  this  concentration  of  thought  and  emotion 
is  consummated  in  Visions  in  which  in  the  center  of  the 
picture  there  is  always  Christ.  Always  as  a  dominant 
impression  is  the  consciousness  of  being  with  Christ  and 
of  receiving  from  Him  enhancement  of  insight,  vitality 
and  power.  Not  only  are  thought  and  feeling  intense, 

i  Lines  an,  T  intern  Albey. 


112  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

but  all  along  the  whole  being  is  focused  on  the  concept 
of  the  Living  and  Eternal  Christ. 

The  literature  of  Mysticism,  Eastern  and  Western,  is 
so  vast  that  even  those  who  have  spent  a  life-time  in  its 
study  can  generalize  on  the  subject  only  under  correc 
tion;  and  the  authors  of  this  volume  have  no  claim  to 
speak  as  experts.  But  it  is  perhaps  not  too  rash  to 
affirm  that,  although  parallels  to  each  of  the  six  fea 
tures  we  have  noted  above  could  probably  be  found  in 
some  previous  Mystic,  Eastern  or  Western,  their  con 
junction  in  a  single  individual  is  unique.  But,  if  so, 
what  is  the  explanation?  It  is  not  enough  to  say  that 
every  Mystic  is  in  a  sense  unique.  Yer}'  tentatively  we 
hazard  a  suggestion.  India  is  the  land  of  Mystics,  but 
the  Sadhu  is  the  first  Indian — or  rather  the  first  whose 
experience  we  have  on  record — to  become  a  Christocen- 
tric  Mystic.  We  should  expect  that  Christian  Mysticism 
when  naturalized  in  India  would  take  a  new  and  char 
acteristically  Indian  form. 

THE  IDEA  AND  ITS  SYMBOL 

A  study  of  the  recorded  visions  of  Mystics  and 
Apocalyptists  leads  one  to  emphasize  the  fundamental 
importance  of  the  distinction  between  their  content,  that 
is,  the  idea  or  value  apprehended,  and  the  form  or  sym 
bol  in  which  they  are  expressed.  We  note  also  that  the 
form  and  the  content  of  a  vision  are  respectively  derived 
from,  and  conditioned  by,  entirely  different  elements 
in  the  mentality  and  experience  of  the  individual  who 
sees  it.  The  form  assumed  by  a  vision  would  appear  to 
depend  partly  on  the  dramatic  quality  of  the  mind  of 
the  subject,  partly  on  the  nature  of  the  materials  from 


ECSTASY  AND  VISION  113 

which  to  build  up  its  symbols  that  are  provided  by  his 
previous  experience  and  environment.  In  the  Sadhu's 
case  these  materials  are  largely  derived  from  that  study 
of  the  Bible  on  which  his  emotions  as  well  as  his  in 
tellect  have  been  concentrated  so  long.  But  the  con 
tent  of  a  vision  is  determined  by  quite  other  factors. 
First,  the  intellectual,  ethical  and  religious  insight  of 
the  seer — behind  which,  in  the  Sadhu's  case,  lies  a  life 
time  of  thought,  prayer  and  sacrificing  service.  Sec 
ondly,  the  degree  to  which  there  are  concentrated  all  the 
highest  faculties  of  the  soul,  thought,  love,  aesthetic  per 
ception,  on  the  problem  which  the  vision  solves.  Thirdly, 
the  extent  to  which  all  this  takes  place  at  a  time  when 
the  whole  personality  is  lifted  up  and  inspired  by  in 
tense  conscious  communion  with  the  Divine — to  the 
Sadhu,  then  as  always,  visualized  and  realized  under  the 
image  of  the  Eternal  Christ. 

The  form  of  the  Sadhu's  visions  is  beautiful  and  ap 
propriate.  But  the  degree  of  spiritual  truth  which  they 
convey,  their  validity  as  inspired  intuitions  concerning 
the  nature  of  inexpressible  realities,  their  value  as  revela 
tion,  if  you  like  to  put  it  so,  depends  entirely  on  the 
three  factors  which  have  determined  their  content.  The 
Visions  are  of  value,  not  because  they  are  visions,  but  be 
cause  they  are  the  Sadhu 's  visions ;  and  that,  not  merely 
because  the  Sadhu  has  an  intuitive  genius  for  things  re 
ligious  and  is  a  man  of  prayer,  but  because  in  thought, 
word  and  deed  he  has  lived  a  consistent  life  which  has 
developed  in  him  a  personality  completely  unified;  an  I, 
lastly,  not  even  because  of  this  alone,  but  because  they  are 
the  visions  of  the  Sadhu  in  deep  conscious  communion 
with  his  Lord. 

Did  space  allow  we  should  go  on  to  argue  that  exactly 


114  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

the  same  psychological  principles  have  determined  the 
form,  and  exactly  the  same  factors  of  personal  charac 
ter  and  concentrated  devotion  account  for  the  value  (a 
value  which,  we  should  hold,  is  not  the  same  in  all  cases) 
of  the  visions  recorded  in  the  Bible.  We  should  connect 
this  with  the  conception  of  Inspiration  as  being  essen 
tially  a  hyper-stimulation  of  the  natural  faculties  of 
insight  and  understanding,  which,  in  men  of  high  ideals 
schooled  by  the  discipline  of  a  noble  life,  must  inevitably 
follow  from  personal  communion  with  a  personal  Divine. 
And,  lastly,  we  should  urge  that  the  supreme  degree  of 
Inspiration  which  characterizes  the  great  Hebrew  writ 
ers  is  mainly  conditioned  by  their  standard  of  conduct — 
sane,  stern,  but,  for  that  age,  humane — by  their  intense 
concentration  of  interest  on  moral  and  religious  issues, 
and  by  their  deep  experience  of  communion  with  the 
Divine.1 


DIVINE  GUIDANCE 

"The  visions  which  you  have  described  so  far  all  give 
answers  to  theological  questions.  Were  you  ever,"  we 
asked,  "given  in  a  vision  the  solution  to  a  practical 
problem  which  perplexed  you — as,  for  instance,  what  is 
the  next  thing  to  be  done?"  In  reply  the  Sadhu  told 
the  following  story : 

"Once  when  traveling  in  the  Himalayas,  I  set  out  for 
the  village  of  Rampur.  I  came  to  a  place  where  two 
roads  branched.  I  was  not  sure  which  was  the  road  to 
Rampur.  I  took  one  of  them  and  after  walking  a  long 

i  These  conceptions  are  worked  out  in  the  essays  by  Mr.  Emmet 
on  The  Psychology  of  Power  and  The  Psychology  of  Inspiration  in 
The  Spirit,  ed.  B.  H.  Streeter.  (Macmillan). 


ECSTASY  AND  VISION  115 

distance  I  realized  that  I  had  chosen  the  wrong  one.  If 
I  wanted  to  return  I  should  have  to  walk  back  eleven 
miles.  Distressed  at  the  mistake,  I  went  into  the  neigh 
boring  village  of  Nalthora.  A  local  shopkeeper  beck 
oned  to  me.  When  I  went  to  him  he  hid  the  Hindi  New 
Testament  he  had  in  his  hand,  thinking  that  I  was  a 
Hindu  Sannyasi.  After  conversing  a  while  he  said  to 
me,  'What  do  you  think  of  Jesus  Christ?'  'He  is  my 
Saviour/  I  said.  'Do  not  be  troubled,'  he  replied  joy 
fully,  'at  having  lost  your  way  and  come  here.  For  some 
time  I  have  been  studying  these  Gospels.  I  have  many 
doubts  and  difficulties.  I  have  been  praying  that  the 
Lord  would  send  me  some  one  who  would  clear  them  up. 
He  has  brought  you  here  in  answer  to  my  prayer. '  We 
continued  late  into  the  night  talking  about  Christ,  and 
I  spent  the  next  day  also  with  him.  His  doubts  were 
cleared  away  and  he  believed  in  Christ.  Later  on  he 
was  baptized.  In  this  way  God  guides  us  when  we 
entrust  ourselves  to  him.  We  may  think  that  we  have 
lost  our  way.  But  He  will  take  us  to  places  where  we 
are  needed  and  so  save  souls."  1 

This  did  not  exactly  meet  our  question,  so  we  repeated 
it  later  on  and  got  a  more  direct  reply. 

"I  have  sometimes  asked  what  will  happen  if  I  do  so 
and  so.  I  was  told  not  to  worry  about  the  future.  The 
future  is  in  my  good  Father's  hands.  I  must  not  worry 
about  it,  but  do  my  present  work.  I  shall  probably  be 
given  twenty-four  hours7  notice  of  my  death;  and  the 
spirits  that  I  see  in  Heaven  will  come  to  meet  me  and 
conduct  me  there.  I  should  myself  like  thus  to  have  time 
to  tell  my  friends  beforehand  of  my  death ;  like  St.  Paul 

i  We  afterwards  found  the  story  in  the  Tamil  addresses,  and 
have  reproduced  it  from  that  version. 


116  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

my  desire  is  to  go  away  and  be  with  Christ,  but  I  wish 
also  to  stay  here  for  the  sake  of  those  I  can  help. 

"It  will  be  a  great  thing  at  the  time  of  death  to  be 
met  by  the  saints  from  Heaven.  The  same  dear  friends  I 
have  so  often  met  in  Ecstasy  will  come  and  fetch  me  and 
will  lead  me  there.  Just  as  kind  friends  in  London  lead 
me — or  I  should  get  lost." 

Perhaps  even  this  reply,  being  mainly  relevant  to  the 
particular  problem  of  preparation  for  death,  did  not 
quite  give  the  information  we  were  seeking.  We  feel 
certain,  however,  that,  while  the  Sadhu  relies  enor 
mously  on  guidance  in  answer  to  prayer,  such  guidance 
does  not  come  to  him,  any  more  than  to  the  generality 
of  Western  Mystics,  by  way  of  explicit  directions  in  the 
state  of  Ecstasy.  This  has  been  more  or  less  implied  by 
many  little  things  he  has  said  in  conversation ;  and  seems 
to  be  clearly  expressed  in  the  following  answer  to  a 
question  we  put  him  on  another  occasion:  "How  do  you 
find  out  the  will  of  God?"  "Those  who  live  with  God 
have  no  difficulty  in  finding  out  God's  will.  Christians, 
who  spend  little  time  with  God  and  are  mainly  con 
cerned  with  the  things  of  this  world,  may  be  perplexed. 
Men  may  find  out  God's  will  by  their  own  convictions 
and  feelings  or  by  circumstances.  Men  who  live  with 
God  have  strong  convictions  that  such  and  such  is  the 
will  of  God.  They  love  and  know  the  Father  and  there 
fore  they  know  His  will."  "Have  you  ever  done  any 
thing  which  you  thought  was  the  Father's  will,  but  af 
terwards  found  out  to  be  your  own  will?"  "No,  for  in 
stance,  fourteen  years  ago  I  became  a  sadhu  under  the 
conviction  that  it  was  my  Father's  will.  I  still  believe 
it  to  be  my  Father's  will." 


ECSTASY  AND  VISION  117 


THE  AUTHORITY  OF  THE  CHURCH 

Medieval  Mystics  often  submitted  their  Visions  to 
their  confessor,  and,  on  his  report  of  their  orthodoxy  or 
value,  decided  whether  they  had  come  from  God  and 
should  be  published,  or  had  come  from  Satan  and  should 
be  suppressed.  Accordingly  we  asked  the  Sadhu,  "If 
ever  anything  which  has  been  told  you  in  Ecstasy  seems 
to  conflict  with  the  traditional  teaching  of  the  Church, 
which  authority  do  you  prefer?'* 

"There  are  not  in  the  Church  enough  men  of  the 
deepest  spiritual  experience  to  give  final  authority  to 
what  its  teachers  say.  So  I  go  direct  to  God.  The 
Creeds  were  made  by  men  who  had  spiritual  experience, 
as  is  shown  by  their  reference  to  the  "Communion  of 
Saints";  but  now  the  people  who  repeat  them  have  not 
the  same  rich  experience.  With  me  a  revelation  in 
Ecstasy  counts  for  more  than  Church  tradition. 
'Churchianity'  and  'Christianity'  are  not  the  same  thing. 
John  Wesley  and  General  Booth  followed  God's  guid 
ance  in  opposition  to  the  Church,  and  they  proved  to  be 
right.  Every  one,  however,  is  not  a  mystic,  so  the  au 
thority  of  Church  tradition  is  necessary  for  the  majority. 
Roman  Catholics  have  gone  too  far  in  one  direction,  some 
Protestants  in  the  other.  But  it  is  not  enough  to  be  a 
member  of  the  Church,  one  must  also  be  a  member  of 
Christ. " 

THE  DANGERS  OP  ECSTASY 

"Since  Ecstasy  means  so  much  to  you,"  we  asked,  "do 
you  recommend  the  ordinary  Christian  to  try  and  attain 
to  it?" 


118  SADHU  SUNDAE  SINGH 

"No.  Prayer  is  for  every  man  and  so  is  Meditation. 
If  it  is  God's  Will  that  he  go  further,  God  will  lead 
him  that  way.  If  not,  let  him  be  content  to  stay  at  the 
stage  of  simple  prayer. 

"No  longer  now,  but  frequently  some  years  ago,  be 
fore  getting  into  the  state  of  Ecstasy,  I  used  to  hear 
voices  and  that  with  these  ears  (that  is,  not  in  the  spir 
itual  language  of  the  heavenly  world),  and  see  lights  or 
hear  music,  and  I  found  out  that  this  was  due  to  Satan  or 
some  evil  spirit.  Sometimes  it  was  as  if  there  were  sharp 
needles  pricking  me;  and  I  saw  light,  but  not  a  real 
light.  I  think  there  is  something  in  the  heart  which 
enables  one  instinctively  to  judge  whether  such  experi 
ences  are  of  God  or  not.  I  somehow  felt  that  these  were 
not  from  God.  As  soon  as  I  heard  the  voice  I  recognized 
that  it  was  not  Christ's  voice.  The  sheep  hear  His 
voice  and  recognize  it.  Mary  thought  that  the  man 
she  saw  in  the  garden  was  the  gardener,  but  as  soon  as 
He  began  to  speak  she  knew  that  it  was  Christ.  Some 
times  I  felt  a  sort  of  heat,  but  there  was  no  joy  in  it, 
and  I  found  these  experiences  were  a  hindrance  to  my 
getting  into  the  true  Ecstasy.  I  recognized  that  they 
were  not  real.  The  fort,  that  is  the  heart,  was  not 
reached  by  them.  Satan  sometimes  merely  whispers; 
sometimes  his  words  are  clear.  Sometimes  he  says,  'You 
are  wrong,  this  is  not  the  way';  'You  have  left  Truth 
behind' ;  'You  are  a  sinner,  you  cannot  be  saved.'  When 
I  listened  to  the  voices  I  felt  troubled.  When  I  prayed 
to  the  Lord  to  help  me  everything  stopped,  the  heat,  the 
whispering,  the  shiverings,  and  the  prickings.  Then  I 
said,  'These  things  were  from  Satan,  this  other'  (that  is, 
the  true  Ecstasy  which  followed)  'is  from  my  Lord  who 
slopped  them.' 


ECSTASY  AND  VISION  119 

"Unless  a  man  lives  very  close  to  Christ  these  pre 
liminary  states  would  be  enough  to  deceive  him.  Even 
Christians  and  genuine  seekers  after  truth,  who  have 
been  the  prophets  of  other  religions,  have  been  thus 
deceived.  In  this  way  false  religions  have  arisen. 
Their  founders  thought  that  divine  voices  were  speaking 
to  them  when  it  was  really  devils.  But,  if  they  had 
taken  no  notice  of  these  preliminary  voices  and  gone  on 
beyond,  they  might  have  attained  the  true  Ecstasy. 
Mystics  should  be  very  careful  about  these  things,  espe 
cially  beginners.  Those  who  have  been  living  in  the 
world  very  naturally  think  that  these  experiences  are 
great  things  because  they  have  seen  nothing  like  them 
before,  but  they  come  from  Satan  or  from  other  beings 
of  the  lower  spirit  world." 

The  Sadhu  here  mentioned  the  names  of  certain  the- 
osophists  and  other  well-known  persons  both  dead  and 
alive  whom  he  believed  to  have  been  deluded  by  these 
false  spirits,  hinting,  however,  that  it  might  be  unwise 
for  us  to  print  them.  '  *  These  spirits  know  something  of 
the  future  but  not  a  great  deal.  Just  as  in  India  we 
can  prophesy  what  the  weather  will  be  like  for  some 
weeks  ahead,  so  the  lower  spirits,  through  their  superior 
knowledge  of  the  tendency  of  things,  can  prophesy  events 
a  short  time  ahead,  and  this  helps  them  in  deceiving  men. 
Prophets  inspired  by  God  can  prophesy  things  many 
many  years  ahead.  That  is  the  difference. 

1  'It  is  these  spirits  of  the  lower  spirit  world  with 
which  spiritualists  get  into  contact.  From  them  spirit 
ualists  get  interesting  things,  but  they  are  ultimately 
deceived  by  the  spirits  who  begin  by  giving  them  ninety- 
nine  things  that  are  true  and  one  that  is  false,  and  grad 
ually  increase  the  proportion  of  false  and  decrease  the 


120  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

true  until  they  lead  people  on  to  atheism  or  some  other 
false  position.  The  truly  spiritual  man  has  that  within 
him  which  feels  an  instinctive  antipathy  to  the  kind  of 
things  which  are  told  him  by  spirits  of  the  lower  world. 
If  we  seek  only  what  is  interesting,  we  shall  never  reach 
as  far  as  the  real  higher  spirit  world. ' ' 

The  Catholic  Mystics  repeatedly  assert  that  if  you 
seek  for  visions  you  will  get  them— but  they  will  be  sent 
you  by  the  Devil,  not  by  God.  The  Sadhu's  opinion,  we 
have  seen,  is  much  the  same.  But  there  are  degrees  of 
seeking.  It  is  the  lesson  of  modern  psychology  that  in 
this  matter  it  is  better  not  even  to  desire. 

It  is  very  easy — as  the  history  of  Theosophy  and  Spir 
itualism,  ancient  and  modern,  shows — for  people  of  a 
certain  temperament  consciously  or  accidentally  to  ac 
quire  the  art  of  slipping  into  a  trance-state  and  then 
seeing  Visions  full  of  curious  information  on  the  nature 
of  the  Universe,  spheres  of  existence,  the  life  to  come. 
But  the  form  of  such  Visions,  at  any  rate  in  the  main, 
comes  from  the  thoughts  and  experiences,  the  tastes  and 
the  studies  of  a  man 's  waking  life ;  the  content,  that  is, 
its  intellectual  and  spiritual  quality,  will  depend  on  the 
quality  of  his  own  mind.  A  mind  untrained  in  accurate 
thought,  undisciplined  by  the  moral  effort  to  realize  in 
practical  life  a  stern  and  noble  ideal,  will  be  reflected 
in  visions  commonplace,  melodramatic  or  bizarre,  their 
form  suggested  by  its  favorite  literature  or  meditation. 
If  the  visionary  takes  these  seriously  as  evidence  of  a 
special  personal  gift  of  supernatural  knowledge,  and 
further  if  he,  or  she,  has  a  little  circle  of  admirers  whose 
subtle  flattery  will  encourage  still  more  and  more  elab 
orate  flights  of  fancy,  then  before  he  knows  it  he  will 
be  well  on  the  way  of  a  rake's  progress  of  intoxicated 


ECSTASY  AND  VISION  121 

vanity — soon  to  be  the  founder  or  the  hierophant  of 
some  esoteric  cult. 

There  is  another  reason  for  mistrusting  dreams  and 
visions.  Modern  medical  Psychology  has  proved  that 
the  dream  life  is  the  expression  of  thoughts  and  emo 
tions  which  have  penetrated  into  the  subconscious  re 
gions  of  the  mind.  Some  dreams  may  be  the  expression 
of  thoughts  and  emotions  connected  with  the  higher  in 
terests  of  the  conscious  self,  which  have  penetrated  deep 
into  the  subconscious.1  But  dreams  often  tell  a  different 
tale.  In  our  waking  hours  the  tiger  and  the  ape  are 
more  or  less  held  in  check  by  conscience,  training,  social 
convention.  But  the  dreams  are  the  holiday-time  for  the 
egoist,  the  sensualist  or  the  craven  that  lives  in  most  of 
us.  The  mechanism  of  dream  symbolism  enables  these 
hidden  passions,  while  finding  expression  for  themselves, 
to  disguise  their  true  nature  from  conscious  recognition. 
And  this  disguise  is  habitually  effected  with  an  ingenuity 
and  a  cunning  which  no  one  who  has  not  studied  long 
and  carefully  the  recent  researches  of  Psychology  would 
regard  as  credible.  So  long  as  we  regard  dreams  as 
merely  dreams  this  does  not  matter.  Indeed  it  is  prob 
able  that  dreams  are  often  a  kind  of  safety  valve  of  the 
greatest  value,  enabling  the  personality  to  rid  itself  in 
harmless  fantasies  of  passion  which,  without  such  outlet, 
would  too  insistently  demand  expression  in  word  or  act 
in  waking  life.  But  if  we  regard  them  as  channels  of 
revelation  the  case  is  altered. 

i  The  strong  disciples  of  Freud  deny  that  any  dream  can  be 
concerned  with  the  higher  interests  of  the  waking  self;  but,  for 
tified  by  what  seems  to  me  convincing  evidence  and  not  without 
some  support  from  expert  medical  opinion,  I  am  bold  to  make  the 
assertion.— B.  II.  S. 


122  SADHU-SUNDAR  SINGH 

A  man  like  the  Sadhu  has  led  a  life  of  thought  and 
prayer  and  of  willing  suffering  for  Christ's  sake,  which 
has  remolded  him  to  the  very  depths  of  heart  and  soul ; 
in  him  subconscious  and  conscious  alike  have  become 
completely  consecrated  to  the  Master;  in  him  the  tiger 
and  the  ape  are  all  but  subjugated ;  yet  more  important, 
even  in  ecstatic  trance  mind  and  soul  are  still  directed 
wholly  upon  Christ,  so  that  with  him  the  mechanism  of 
thought  and  of  expression  is  Christ-controlled  in  Ecstasy 
as  it  is  in  normal  life. 

To  him  Ecstasy  may  not  only  be  without  danger  but 
may  bring  actual  profit.  It  is  not  so  with  the  rest  of 
us.  The  light  that  we  must  walk  by  is  the  light  of 
conscious  thought,  with  prayer  and  meditation.  The 
specious  Visions  and  Revelations  which  come  by  the  easy 
path  of  a  facile  trance-practice,  whether  in  ourselves  or 
others,  we  are  mistaken  to  admire,  we  are  demented  if  we 
seek. 

The  story  is  told  that  Said,  the  servant  of  Muham 
mad,  once  came  to  his  master  with  an  enthusiastic  ac 
count  of  an  Ecstasy  he  had  enjoyed : 

In  that  hour 

All  past  eternity  and  all  to  come 
Was  gathered  up  in  one  stupendous  Now,— 
Let  understanding  marvel  as  it  may, 
Where  men  see  clouds,  on  the  ninth  heaven  I  gaze, 
And  see  the  throne  of  God.     All  heaven  and  hell 
Are  bare  to  me  and  all  men's  destinies. 
The  heavens  and  earth,  they  vanish  at  my  glance, 
The  dead  rise  at  my  look.     I  tear  the  veil 
From  all  the  worlds,  and  in  the  hall  of  heaven 
I  sit  me  central,  radiant  as  the  Sun." 


ECSTASY  AND  VISION  123 

Then  spake  the  Prophet,  "Friend,  thy  steed  is  warm: 

Spur  him  no  more.     The  mirror  in  thy  heart 

Did  slip  its  fleshly  case,  now  put  it  up — 

Hide  it  once  more,  or  thou  wilt  come  to  harm."  l 

i  Cf.  F.  Max  Muller,  Theosophy  or  Psychological  Religion,  p.  348. 


VI 

SUFFERING,  SIN  AND  JUDGMENT  x 
KARMA 

BOTH  the  degree  of  originality  and  the  full  significance 
of  the  Sadhu's  teaching  on  Suffering,  Sin  and  Judgment 
will  escape  us  unless  we  see  them  in  their  relation,  on  the 
one  hand  to  the  conception  of  the  Wrath  of  God,  which 
still  largely  dominates  traditional  Christian  teaching, 
and  on  the  other  to  the  Hindu  doctrine  of  Karma. 

The  Sadhu  believes  firmly  in  retribution.  But  he 
regards  this  as  being  brought  about  by  an  internal  ne 
cessity,  an  inevitable  degeneration  of  the  personality 
which  brings  its  own  punishment  in  that  it  completely 
incapacitates  for  the  life  of  Heaven.  He  does  not  regard 
it  as  the  expression  of  the  Divine  anger,  for  God  to  him 
is  wholly  seen  in  Christ,  and,  to  recall  a  saying  of  his 
already  quoted,  "Jesus  Christ  is  never  annoyed  with 
anybody. ' ' 

"As  men  have  chosen  sin,  they  must  die  in  sin.  God 
does  not  bring  about  this  death.  God  sends  no  one  to 
hell.  The  sinner  himself  brings  this  punishment  down 
on  himself.  Let  us  look  at  the  case  of  Judas  Iscariot. 
When  he  betrayed  the  Lord,  Pilate  did  not  hang  him,  nor 

i  The  greater  part  of  the  materials  for  this  chapter  have  been 
taken  from  the  Tamil  collection  of  the  Sadhu's  address. 

124 


SUFFERING,  SIN  AND  JUDGMENT        125 

did  the  High  Priest,  nor  did  our  loving  Savior,  nor  did 
the  Apostles.  He  hanged  himself.  He  committed  sui 
cide.  He  died  in  his  sin.  This  is  the  end  of  him  who 
lives  in  sin." 

But  the  Love  of  God  is  always  there,  ready  to  inter 
vene  and  to  counteract  the  retributory  process.  But 
God  does  not  effect  this  by  an  arbitrary  and  external 
" forgiveness, "  a  mere  remission  of  penalty;  He  works 
by  changing  the  heart  and  thereby  curing  the  moral 
disease  which  is  at  the  root  of  sin.  Only  man  must 
repent. 

The  doctrine  of  Karma  teaches  that  any  sorrow,  mis 
fortune,  degradation  or  disease  from  which  the  indi 
vidual  may  now  be  suffering  is  an  exact  and  just  retribu 
tion  for  some  sin  committed  by  him  or  her  in  a  previous 
incarnation.  This  comes  about  through  an  automatically 
working  law  of  cause  and  consequence.  And  by  the 
same  law  every  sin  we  commit  in  this  life  will  be  paid 
for  by  an  equivalent  in  suffering  when  we  return  to  earth 
in  our  next  reincarnation.  Necessarily  this  doctrine 
can  admit  no  remission  of  sin.1 

The  Sadhu's  insistence  that  retribution  is  automatic 
and  is  not  to  be  ascribed  to  the  Divine  Wrath  is  inspired 
by  his  passionate  apprehension  of  the  Love  of  God.  In 
support  of  it  he  appeals  to  certain  passages  in  St.  John 's 

i  Popular  Hinduism  provides  various  ways  of  obtaining  remis 
sion  of  sins,  such  as  bathing  in  certain  waters,  especially  at  par 
ticular  festivals.  But  this  can  only  be  reconciled  with  the  doc 
trine  of  Karma  by  attributing  an  ethical  value  to  non-ethical  ob 
servances  which  completely  deprives  that  doctrine  of  its  title  to  be 
regarded  as  the  expression  of  a  passionless  justice.  But  it  is  pre 
cisely  the  moral  appeal  which  the  idea  of  passionless  justice  makes 
to  many  minds  which  gives  to  the  doctrine  of  Karma  its  chief 
claim  to  be  taken  seriously. 


126  SADHU  SUNDAE  SINGH 

Gospel.  But,  though  the  doctrine  is  certainly  predomi 
nant  in  this  Gospel,  it  may  be  doubted  whether  the  Sadhu 
would  have  found  it  there  so  easily  had  he  not  been  al 
ready  familiar  with  the  doctrine  of  Karma.  If  this  be 
so,  it  is  one  little  instance  of  the  way  in  which,  as  West- 
cott  prophesied,  India,  if  converted,  will  bring  new  light 
to  the  interpretation  of  St.  John.  Yet,  even  within  the 
conception  of  an  automatic  retribution,  there  is  still  a 
subtle  but  important  difference  between  the  Sadhu 's 
doctrine  and  the  idea  of  Karma.  To  the  Sadhu  retribu 
tion  is  the  result  of  an  internal  change,  organic  to  the 
personality.  Karma  represents  it  as  dependent  upon 
circumstances  predominantly  external. 

But  the  same  conviction  of  the  love  of  Christ  which 
makes  the  Sadhu  adopt  an  almost  Indian  conception 
of  retribution  causes  him  emphatically  to  reject  other 
aspects  of  the  doctrine  of  Karma,  in  particular,  its  nega 
tion  of  the  possibility  of  forgiveness  and  its  conception 
of  suffering  as  necessarily  penal.  Of  the  two  it  is  the 
latter  against  which  he  more  frequently  protests,  since, 
in  spite  of  the  book  of  Job  and  the  teaching  of  our  Lord, 
it  is  also  potent  in  popular  Christianity.  Here  again  he 
can  appeal  to  the  authority  of  St.  John,  " Neither  did 
this  man  sin  nor  his  parents;  but  that  the  works  of  God 
should  be  made  manifest  in  him."  But  his  Philosophy 
of  the  Cross  is  also  here  involved.  To  endure  slights,  ill- 
usage  or  bodily  pain  is  to  share  the  cross  of  Christ.  To 
endure  them  nobly  and  without  resentment  is  to  repro 
duce  His  character  and  therefore  silently  to  proclaim 
His  message  and  His  power.  Hence,  to  the  Sadhu,  suf 
fering  is  not  a  penalty;  it  is  sometimes  a  medicine,  al 
ways  an  opportunity. 


SUFFERING,  SIN  AND  JUDGMENT        127 

SUFFERING 

''God  is  Love,  and  therefore  He  will  not  punish.  I 
do  not  agree  with  those  who  say  that  sickness  and  mis 
fortune  are  punishments.  They  are  what  I  should  call 
'the  loving  slap.'  A  doctor  was  telling  me  of  an  experi 
ence  he  had.  Before  a  child  is  born  it  cannot  breathe, 
but  as  soon  as  it  is  born  it  breathes.  But  it  is  necessary 
for  the  child  to  cry.  If  the  child  does  not  cry  his  lungs 
are  contracted  and  he  dies.  One  child  was  unable  to 
breathe  when  he  was  born  and  within  a  few  minutes 
would  have  died.  So  the  nurse  gave  him  a  slap.  The 
mother  must  have  thought:  'She  came  to  help  me,  but 
she  is  killing  my  son.  It  is  only  a  few  minutes  since 
he  was  born  and  now  she  is  giving  him  a  slap.'  Through 
that  slap  she  made  the  child  cry.  When  the  child  began 
to  cry  he  began  to  breathe.  Just  so  God  sometimes  gives 
1is  a  loving  slap. 

"Once  while  coming  down  a  mountain  I  sat  down  in 
the  porch  of  a  house.  A  strong  wind  began  to  blow.  A 
little  bird  came  along  helplessly  driven  by  this  wind. 
From  another  direction  a  hawk  swooped  down  on  the 
little  bird  to  make  a  prey  of  it.  The  little  bird,  faced  by 
danger  from  two  directions,  fell  into  my  lap.  This  bird 
never  likes  to  come  to  men  and  yet  it  sought  refuge  with 
me  in  the  day  of  trouble.  So  the  strong  wind  of  suf 
fering  drives  us  into  the  lap  of  God. 

"In  Karachi  I  was  bathing  in  the  sea.  I  went  far 
into  the  sea  without  knowing  it.  I  saw  a  big  wave 
sweeping  toward  me  like  a  wall,  and,  full  of  fear,  I 
prayed  to  God.  What  happened  was  that  this  wave  took 
me  safely  ashore.  I  thought  it  would  be  impossible  to 
return.  I  was  afraid  I  would  perish  in  the  wave.  And 


128  SADIIU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

yet,  without  killing  me,  it  brought  me  safely  ashore.  So 
does  suffering  for  us. 

"Once  in  the  course  of  my  travels  I  saw  a  shepherd. 
It  was  his  habit  to  take  his  cattle  across  a  river,  let  them 
graze  till  evening  and  then  take  them  back  across  the 
river.  That  evening  all  the  cattle  went  across  except  a 
cow  and  a  calf  which  seemed  unwilling  to  go  over  to  the 
other  side  of  the  river.  Afraid  that  if  he  let  them  stay 
there  wild  beasts  might  make  short  work  of  them  in  the 
course  of  the  night,  he  lashed  them  and  thus  sought  to 
make  them  go  across  the  river.  That  was  of  no  use. 
He  then  held  before  them  some  hay  and  tried  to  lure 
them  across.  That  too  proved  futile.  Then  I  suggested 
to  him:  'Carry  the  calf  across;  the  cow  will  then  follow 
you  easily.'  He  carried  the  calf  and  the  cow  followed 
him.  In  the  same  way,  when  we  are  unwilling  to  reach 
our  Lord,  He  separates  from  us  our  dear  ones  and  takes 
them  away  to  Himself.  We  are  thus  led  to  desire  the 
heavenly  regions  where  our  dear  ones  have  gone  and  to 
fit  ourselves  for  them." 

May  we  not  surmise  that  this  last  thought  was  sug 
gested  to  the  Sadhu  by  reflection  on  the  death  of  his 
mother,  of  whom  he  speaks  so  often  and  so  fondly,  and 
its  effect  upon  his  own  religious  quest? 

"Sorrow  and  misfortune  draw  us  near  to  God  and  fit 
us  for  His  service.  Many  regard  misfortune  as  nothing 
but  punishment  for  sin.  And  yet  suffering  and  the  way 
we  suffer  is  a  splendid  way  of  serving  God,  an  effective 
way  of  glorifying  Him. 

"Let  us  look  at  the  case  of  poor  Lazarus.  He  was 
full  of  sores.  These  sores  are  not  said  to  have  been  the 
result  of  his  sin.  Or  he  would  not  have  obtained  the 
great  privilege  of  being  in  Abraham's  bosom.  His  sores 


SUFFERING,  SIN  AND  JUDGMENT 

and  the  way  he  endured  them  were  the  great  sermon  he 
preached  to  others.  By  this  service  which  he  rendered 
many  were  led  to  praise  God. 

"But,  some  one  will  say,  'That  is  very  fine.  But  does 
God  afflict  the  innocent  in  order  that  He  may  be  glori 
fied?'  Let  us  observe,  however,  the  reward  which  God 
gave  him  after  this  brief  period  of  trouble.  He  tells 
him,  'I  bore  the  Cross  and  you  also  bore  the  Cross. 
Now  I  am  reigning  and  you  shall  reign  with  me. ' 

"The  Hindu  doctrine  of  transmigration  is  an  attempt 
to  solve  the  problem  of  suffering,  but  it  is  not  satisfac 
tory.  If  one  man  is  a  Rajah,  another  a  coolie  in  this 
life,  it  explains  that  this  is  because  the  Rajah  was  a  good 
man,  the  coolie  a  bad  one,  in  a  previous  life.  A  certain 
Rajah's  criticism  of  the  doctrine  was  this:  'If  a  finger  is 
badly  scratched  the  injury  is  obvious,  but  the  bone  may 
be  broken  and  there  is  nothing  to  show.  My  life  is  one 
long  round  of  anxieties  and  burdens,  though  I  appear  as 
living  in  state  and  luxury.  The  coolie  has  not  a  care  to 
trouble  him.  I  must  have  sinned  in  a  previous  life  and 
the  coolie  have  been  the  saint. 

"We  praise  thee,  Lord,  for  the  joys  and  sufferings 
which  thou  hast  sent  us  in  the  past  and  which  thou 
sendest  us  now.  By  bearing  Thy  Cross  will  the  bliss  of 
Heaven  become  very  sweet  to  us.  For  he  who  has  not 
endured  suffering  cannot  know  the  reality  of  joy." 

SIN 

One  day  I  was  sitting  on  a  rock.  I  saw  below  me  a 
bird  hopping  along  slowly.  I  stooped  down  and  tried 
to  see  what  was  happening.  What  did  I  see  ?  A  snake 
was  drawing  the  bird  toward  itself  by  its  magnetic 


130  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

power.  Drawn  by  the  fascinating  eye  of  the  serpent,  the 
bird  unconsciously  came  very  near  the  serpent.  As  soon 
as  the  serpent  knew  that  the  bird  was  its  own  and  could 
not  possibly  escape,  it  caught  the  bird  and  devoured  it. 
But  the  bird  might  have  escaped  the  serpent  at  a  dis 
tance.  In  the  same  manner,  Satan  endeavors  to  draw 
us  to  himself  by  his  coaxing  and  pleasant  ways.  There 
is  only  one  way  of  escaping  him.  Instead  of  turning  our 
'hearts  towards  him,  we  must  attempt  to  fix  our  hearts 
on  God. 

''The  saying  'whosoever  is  begotten  of  God  sinneth 
not' 1  used  to  perplex  me,  but  now  I  understand  it.  Sin 
is  generally  the  result  of  a  desire  to  obtain  pleasure. 
But  the  man  who  loves  God  has  such  deep  and  unfailing 
springs  of  joy  in  himself  that  he  is  not  drawn  to  any 
other  kind  of  pleasure,  and  therefore  does  not  sin;  just 
as  the  man  who  owns  a  sovereign  has  no  use  for  a  de 
faced  farthing. 

' '  There  was  a  girl  in  a  village.  Every  day  she  dusted 
off  the  cobwebs  in  her  room.  Once  while  doing  this  she 
thought  about  herself  and  prayed,  'Lord,  as  I  am  clean 
ing  my  room,  clean  thou  my  heart  of  all  sin.'  Then  a 
voice  was  heard  in  the  air,  'Daughter,  what  is  the  use 
of  sweeping  away  only  the  cobwebs  every  day?  It  is 
better  to  destroy  the  spider  that  spins  the  cobwebs.  If 
you  kill  the  spider  there  won't  be  any  more  cobwebs/ 
Likewise  it  is  not  enough  that  our  daily  sins  be  for 
given,  but,  as  the  Apostle  says,  the  old  man  in  us  should 
die. 

"Roman  Catholics  make  a  great  deal  of  the  forgive 
ness  of  sins  in  Absolution:  but  the  disease,  which  is  the 
root  of  the  sin,  is  working  all  the  same. 
1 1  John  v.  18. 


SUFFERING,  SIN  AND  JUDGMENT        131 

"Sin  is  not  only  a  disease,  but  a  contagious  disease. 
But  when  the  Sun  of  Righteousness  shines  the  germs  are 
killed." 

"Do  you  think,"  we  asked,  "that  penitent  sinners 
should  be  continually  thinking  of  their  sin  and  renewing 
their  contrition?" 

"Don't  trouble  about  God  forgiving  or  not  forgiving 
your  sin.  Salvation  is  not  forgiveness  of  sin,  but  free 
dom  from  sin.  There  was  a  consumptive  in  Sikkim  who 
became  delirious.  Some  fruits  and  a  knife  were  placed 
by  the  side  of  his  bed.  A  friend  called  on  him.  Un 
wittingly  he  took  the  knife  and  cut  the  throat  of  his 
friend.  For  this  he  was  to  be  hung  at  5  p.  M.  on  a  cer 
tain  day.  His  friends  and  relations  went  to  the  king 
and  begged  for  his  forgiveness  as  he  was  not  responsible 
for  his  action.  But  when  they  returned  they  were  told 
that  he  had  already  died — from  consumption.  His 
crime  was  the  result  of  his  disease.  The  crime  was  for 
given,  but  the  disease  itself,  which  was  the  root  of  the 
crime,  was  not  healed.  That  is  why  the  word  of  God 
says :  '  Ye  shall  die  in  your  sins. '  God  will  not  kill  you. 
But  the  disease,  which  is  the  root  of  the  sins,  is  working 
all  the  same. 

"It  is  a  healthy  sign  to  feel  that  we  are  sinners.  It 
is  dangerous  when  we  do  not  feel  it.  Once  while  bath 
ing  in  the  river  Sutlej  I  sank  deep  into  the  water. 
Above  my  head  were  tons  of  water  and  yet  I  did  not  feel 
the  burden  at  all.  When  I  came  back  to  the  bank,  I 
lifted  a  pot  filled  with  water  and  found  it  very  heavy. 
As  long  as  I  was  in  the  water  I  did  not  feel  the  weight. 
Similarly  a  sinner  does  not  feel  that  he  is  a  sinner  as 
long  as  he  lives  in  sin. 

* '  Coal  is  black — we  cannot  remove  its  blackness.    You 


132  SADHIT  SUNDAR  SINGH 

can  use  a  hundred  pounds  of  soap  but  you  will  not  take 
away  its  blackness.  But  put  it  in  the  fire  and  its 
blackness  goes,  it  becomes  shining  bright.  So  when  we 
receive  that  baptism  of  fire  by  the  Holy  Spirit  which 
comes  into  our  lives  when  we  give  our  hearts  to  Christ 
we  sinners  shine  before  the  world.  That  is  what  Christ 
meant  when  He  said,  '  Ye  are  the  light  of  the  world. ' 

' 'If  we  continue  in  sin  our  conscience,  which  is  the 
eye  of  the  soul,  becomes  blind : 

"I  once  saw  a  Tibetan  monk  who  had  spent  many 
years  meditating  in  a  dark  cave.  When  he  came  out  he 
could  not  see  anything.  His  eyes  were  pale  and  yellow. 
On  my  way  back  to  India  from  Japan  I  met  a  scientist. 
He  had  some  blind  fish  in  a  jar.  They  were  beautiful 
but  had  no  eyes:  only  a  superficial  mark  remaining  to 
show  that  they  once  possessed  them.  Because  they  had 
lived  in  the  dark  and  did  not  use  their  eyes,  they  lost 
them. 

"Once  in  the  Himalayas  I  ate  a  poisonous  plant  and 
for  three  days  my  tongue  was  numbed.  I  could  not 
taste  anything.  Just  so  it  is  possible  to  lose  one's  taste 
for  the  Divine — that  is,  to  lose  one 's  conscience  by  tast 
ing  the  poisonous  fruit  of  sin. 

"I  once  saw  a  sweeper  carrying  a  pan  of  ordure  in 
one  hand,  the  stench  of  which  made  me  almost  vomit. 
But  the  sweeper  was  so  used  to  it  that  with  his  spare 
hand  he  was  holding  food  to  his  mouth  and  eating  it. 
Just  so,  we  are  so  habituated  to  the  sin  and  evil  of  the 
world  that  we  live  in  it  quite  unconcerned.  But  Christ 
would  have  felt  in  the  midst  of  it  as  I  felt  when  the 
sweeper  passed  me.  Accordingly,  it  is  a  mistake  to  think 
of  the  suffering  of  Christ  as  being  confined  to  the  Cruci 
fixion.  Christ  was  thirty-three  years  upon  the  Cross." 


SUFFERING,  SIN  AND  JUDGMENT       133 


REPENTANCE 

"I  was  traveling  with  some  others  on  the  Himalayas. 
One  of  our  party  began  to  be  very  thirsty.  When  we 
reached  a  high  spot  we  noticed  that  there  was  a  little 
water  in  the  midst  of  a  morass.  This  young  man  wanted 
to  go  and  drink  that  water.  His  brother  who  knew  that 
spot  well  reiterated:  'It  is  impossible  to  go  there  and 
return.  All  who  ever  went  there  perished  in  the  mud. 
If  you  will  only  wait  for  a  little  while  there  is  a  village 
five  miles  away  and  you  can  drink  water  there.'  We 
too  implored  him  in  the  same  way.  But  he  was  deter 
mined  to  go  and  walked  towards  the  water,  saying: 
'There  is  no  mud  here.  As  it  is  morning  the  water  is 
frozen  here.'  He  got  to  the  water  and  also  drank  it. 
But  when  he  sought  to  return  his  feet  began  to  sink  into 
the  mud.  He  went  down  as  far  as  his  knees.  In  trying 
to  get  out  he  sank  still  deeper  and  deeper,  first  as  far 
as  his  waist  and  then  as  far  as  his  neck.  There  was 
no  means  of  getting  him  out.  We  had  no  rope  long 
enough  to  help  him.  it  any  one  had  gone  to  rescue  him 
it  was  certain  that  he  also  would  perish.  And  he  wailed 
at  the  thought  of  perishing  thus,  though  he  had  known 
beforehand  of  the  danger.  But  of  what  avail  was  that  ? 
He  died.  Many  love  the  things  of  the  world,  though 
they  know  that  they  cannot  satisfy  their  souls'  thirst 
with  them,  and  though  they  know  that  they  will  prove 
dangerous.  Such  will  surely  perish.  Let  us  turn  our 
hearts,  not  towards  the  world,  but  towards  Him  who  is 
able  to  satisfy  this  thirst,  and  live. 

"In  Tibet  there  was  a  village  where  there  was  no 
water.  The  people  of  the  village  had  to  bring  the  water 
in  from  a  fresh  spring  about  two  miles  away.  Some  of 


134  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

them  did  not  like  this  and  so  dug  a  tank.  They  thought 
that  the  tank  would  be  filled  with  rain  water  which  they 
would  use  and  that  it  would  be  unnecessary  to  go  to  the 
trouble  of  bringing  water  from  a  spot  two  miles  away. 
When  the  rain  came  the  tank  which  they  dug  was  filled 
with  water.  As  usual  some  went  to  the  clear  and  fresh 
spring  two  miles  away  and  brought  in  the  water.  Others 
laughed  at  them  and  mocked  them,  calling  them  mad 
men.  Without  much  trouble  they  drank  the  water  in  the 
tank,  but  all  those  who  drank  the  water  died,  as  there 
was  poisonous  matter  in  it.  Though  those  who  brought 
the  water  from  the  spring  two  miles  away  had  worked 
hard,  they  lived.  In  the  same  way  it  is  hard  to  love  the 
Lord  and  hate  the  world,  but  it  is  the  way  of  life. 

"One  day  a  hunter  went  out  hunting.  All  the  stones 
he  had  with  him  were  exhausted.  He  wanted  to  sling 
a  stone  at  a  bird  on  a  tree.  Seeing  a  vessel  near-by  full 
of  beautiful  stones,  he  took  them  and  hurled  them  at  the 
bird  with  his  sling.  They  fell  into  the  river.  Only  one 
stone  was  left.  The  hunter  took  it  home  to  give  it  to 
his  child  as  a  plaything.  On  the  way  he  met  a  diamond 
merchant  who  promised  to  give  him  as  much  as  a  thou 
sand  rupees  for  the  stone.  He  did  not  agree  to  it.  Then 
said  the  diamond  merchant  to  him :  '  Take  home  with  you 
as  many  rupees  as  you  can  carry  within  the  next  hour 
and  a  half,  only  give  me  the  stone. '  The  hunter  agreed 
to  this  and  took  home  a  bag  full  of  rupees  and  came  back 
for  the  next  bag.  There  were  only  a  few  more  minutes 
left  for  him.  He  took  another  bag  full  of  money  and 
walked  home,  weeping  and  lamenting.  'You  are  very 
mad, '  said  the  people  to  him.  '  Instead  of  thanking  God 
for  all  this  money  which  He  has  given  you,  you  are 
weeping.'  'I  am  indeed  thankful  to  God,'  wailed  he, 


SUFFERING,  SIN  AND  JUDGMENT        135 

'but  I  was  fool  enough  not  to  understand  the  value  of 
this  stone.  I  wasted  several  stones  like  this  in  the  water. 
If  I  had  only  kept  them  I  might  have  become  a  million 
aire.'  Every  day  of  our  lives  is  a  precious  stone.  We 
have  wasted  many.  This  may  be  our  last.  So  let  us 
repent  now. 

"There  was  a  poor  man  in  Northern  India.  He  had 
a  large  debt.  He  had  nothing  with  which  to  pay  off  the 
debt.  He  was  too  lazy  to  earn  the  money.  Those  who 
lent  him  the  money  made  up  their  minds  to  put  him  in 
prison.  But  there  was  a  wealthy  and  generous  man  in 
that  place.  Hearing  of  this  man's  wretched  condition 
he  wanted  to  help  him.  As  he  did  not  want  that  any  one 
else  should  know  of  this,  he  came  after  twelve  o'clock 
in  the  night  with  all  kinds  of  food  and  five  hundred 
rupees — his  debt  was  not  as  large  as  this — to  the  house. 
He  stood  knocking  at  the  door  for  an  hour,  but  the  man 
in  the  house  was  too  lazy  to  open  it.  Then  the  rich  man 
returned  home  disgusted  and  feeling  that  he  was  not  fit 
to  be  helped.  The  next  morning  the  poor  man  heard  of 
what  had  happened  and  was  filled  with  sorrow.  But 
what  was  the  use  ?  Behold,  the  King  of  Kings  is  stand 
ing  at  our  door  ready  to  pay  off  all  our  debt  of  sin.  He 
knocks  at  the  door  with  divine  food  in  his  hand,  food 
which  will  strengthen  us  and  give  us  power  to  win  vic 
tory  over  our  spiritual  enemies.  Let  us  not  be  lazy  and 
indifferent  like  that  man,  but  open  the  door  immediately. 
Then  heavenly  peace  and  joy  will  become  ours.  Our 
heart  itself  will  become  heaven. 

"Satan  frequently  confuses  with  doubt  even  true 
Christians.  But  by  the  grace  of  God  the  saintly  man 
escapes  this.  To  illustrate  this  let  me  tell  you  an  inci 
dent  which  actually  happened.  A  certain  Saint  before 


136  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

his  conversion  had  committed  many  crimes.  But  after 
his  conversion  he  served  the  Lord  with  his  whole  mind 
and  led  a  holy  life.  When  he  was  on  his  death-bed  Satan 
brought  him  a  catalogue  of  his  previous  sins  and  said, 
'You  have  done  all  these  things.  You  are  not  fit  to 
enter  heaven.  Hell  is  your  place/  Thus  did  Satan 
frighten  him.  But  the  Saint  said,  'My  Savior  will  in 
no  wise  cast  out  him  that  cometh  to  Him.  If  we  confess 
our  sins  He  is  faithful  and  just  to  forgive  us  our  sins 
and  to  cleanse  us  from  all  unrighteousness/  In  spite 
of  this,  Satan  continued  to  trouble  him,  but  the  Saint 
was  not  discouraged  but  continued  steadily  in  prayer. 
Then  a  finger  appeared  and  cancelled  the  catalogue  of 
sins.  The  Saint,  rejoicing  at  this,  began  praising  God. 
But  Satan  said,  'Do  not  rejoice  at  this.  You  may  reach 
Heaven,  but  your  sin  will  always  stand  in  the  sight  of 
all;  so  you  will  be  ashamed  before  all.'  The  Saint 
prayed  again.  Then  a  drop  of  Christ's  blood  fell  on 
the  catalogue.  Spreading  all  over  it  washed  away  all  the 
letters  and  made  the  paper  white.  Seeing  this  the  Saint 
was  filled  with  a  divine  joy  and  peacefully  entered  God 's 
presence. 

''Let  us  look  at  the  three  crosses  on  Calvary.  He  who 
hung  in  the  center  died  for  sin.  One  of  the  thieves  was 
penitent  and  anxiously  pleaded  with  the  Lord.  He 
heard  his  prayer  and  promised  him  that  he  would  be 
with  him  that  day  in  Paradise.  He  went  with  Christ  to 
Paradise,  not  after  many  days,  but  that  very  day.  He 
died  to  sin  and  lived  in  Christ.  The  other  thief  sought 
to  save  his  body  without  being  penitent.  'If  you  are  the 
Son  of  God,  save  yourself  and  us, '  he  said.  He  lived  for 
his  body  and  died  in  sin.  Though  near  the  Lord  of 
Life,  he  died  in  sin  without  being  saved. 


SUFFERING,  SIN  AND  JUDGMENT        137 

" Friend,  what  is  your  condition?  Are  you  dead  in 
sin  or  have  you  died  to  sin?" 

JUDGMENT 

This  section  must  be  supplemented  by  the  more  esoteric 
teaching  expressed  in  the  Visions  recorded  in  the  pre 
vious  chapter,  if  we  wish  to  obtain  a  complete  idea  of 
the  Sadhu's  views  on  Judgment.  As  we  have  already 
indicated,  in  his  public  addresses  he  strongly  emphasizes 
the  certainty  of  retribution,  but  never  even  hints  at  his 
hope  of  an  ultimate  salvation,  though  of  a  lower  degree, 
for  all  or  almost  all  men. 

"Many  comfort  themselves  by  saying,  'God  is  Love. 
In  some  way  or  another  He  will  save  and  redeem  us  in 
the  end. '  In  the  end  those  will  be  disillusioned. 

"In  the  Himalayas  there  is  a  native  Prince,  forgiving 
and  generous-hearted.  One  evening,  while  out  for  a 
drive,  a  man  who  had  stolen  some  things  from  a  clothes 
store  and  run  away  was  caught  and  brought  before  him. 
The  Raja  warned  him  and  said:  'This  time  I  forgive 
you  because  I  am  not  in  my  court.  But  you  must  not 
do  this  again. '  But  the  man  did  not  give  up  his  habits 
as  a  thief.  Another  day  when  the  Raja  was  out  driving 
they  brought  the  man  to  him  again.  This  time  also  he 
forgave  him.  Gaining  boldness  he  went  from  bad  to 
worse  until  he  killed  a  man  and  was  charged  with  mur 
der.  They  brought  him  to  the  court.  He  came  into  the 
court  with  great  fear,  but  as  soon  as  he  saw  the  face  of 
the  judge  he  became  bold  and  happy.  'This  is  the  gen 
erous  Raja  who  forgave  me  twice.  This  time  also  he 
will  forgive  me,'  he  thought.  When  the  Raja  saw  him 
he  was  sorry  for  him  and  said,  'Friend,  you  ought  to 
have  given  up  your  evil  ways  long  ago.  I  forgave  you 


138  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

several  times.  This  time  also  I  wish  to  forgive  you. 
But  what  can  I  do?  Here  not  I,  but  this  law  book  is  the 
judge,  and  by  it  you  are  condemned  to  be  hanged. '  The 
same  will  happen  on  that  Great  Day  too.  God  is  Love, 
but  listen  to  what  the  Savior  says:  'And  if  any  man 
hear  my  words,  and  believe  not,  I  judge  him  not :  for  I 
came  not  to  judge  the  world,  but  to  save  the  world.  He 
that  rejecteth  me,  and  receiveth  not  my  words,  hath  one 
that  judgeth  him:  the  word  that  I  have  spoken,  the 
same  shall  judge  him  in  the  last  day'  (John  xii.  47-48). 

"Once  I  lifted  a  big  stone.  Under  it  were  countless 
insects.  As  soon  as  they  saw  the  light  they  were  terri 
fied  and  ran  to  and  fro  in  trepidation.  I  put  the  stone 
back  in  its  place  and  they  became  quiet.  When  the  Sun 
of  Righteousness  appears  on  that  day  this  scene  will  be 
reproduced.  Those  who  live  in  darkness  and  lead  sin 
ful  lives  will  see  the  sins  which  they  committed  in  the 
dark  revealed.  For  'there  is  nothing  covered,  that  shall 
not  be  revealed;  and  hid,  that  shall  not  be  known'  Matt. 
x.  26).  In  His  light  the  sins  hidden  in  their  hearts  and 
lives  will  be  made  plain.  They  will  be  filled  with  terror 
and  trepidation. 

"Observe  the  cobra,  however  often  it  may  slough  its 
skin,  it  remains  a  cobra.  In  the  same  way,  a  sinner, 
even  though  he  leaves  his  body,  will  remain  a  sinner  in 
the  next  world.  Character  does  not  change  with  death. 

"A  sinner  is  a  traitor  against  God.  A  man  who  is  a 
traitor  against  one  country  can  escape  by  taking  refuge 
in  another.  But  is  there  any  kingdom  where  one  may 
take  refuge  after  being  a  traitor  to  God's  kingdom?  Sin 
will  catch  him  who  runs  away  from  God  on  account  of 
sin.  Death  will  overtake  him  who  runs  away  from  God 
to  escape  death.  In  Tibet  a  man  killed  another  man. 


SUFFERING,  SIN  AND  JUDGMENT        139 

The  Government  decreed  that  the  murderer  should  be 
hanged.  By  making  an  opening  in  the  mud  wall  of  the 
prison  with  a  nail  he  escaped  into  the  forest.  But  un 
able  to  bear  the  extreme  cold  he  died  there.  Death 
caught  him  who  sought  to  escape  death. 
"Prayer  and  Meditation  avail  to  wash  away  sin : 
"In  the  south  of  Bhutan  there  is  a  dense  jungle  where 
men  hunt  tigers  and  other  big  game.  There  was  a  lodge 
where  they  could  take  shelter  in  case  of  danger;  the 
hunters  carried  with  them  the  key  of  this  lodge.  One 
day  a  hunter  started  out,  gun  in  hand.  Suddenly  he 
saw  a  tiger  coming  after  him,  and  thinking  that  he  could 
get  into  the  lodge,  threw  his  gun  aside  and  ran  toward 
it.  He  reached  the  door  and  looked  for  the  key.  But 
he  had  left  it  behind.  Instantly  the  tiger  leapt  upon  him 
and  killed  him.  Between  where  he  stood  and  the  inside 
of  the  lodge  was  but  an  inch,  but  the  thickness  of  the 
door.  And  yet  he  had  to  lose  his  life  because  he  had 
been  careless  about  his  key.  He  would  have  died  if  he 
had  been  ten  miles  away  from  the  lodge.  He  died  none 
the  less  when  he  was  very  near  to  it.  Though  near  the 
Kingdom  of  God,  many  Christians  are  careless  about  its 
key.  What  is  that  key?  It  is  repentance  and  con 
tinued  prayer. 

"While  travelling  on  the  Himalayas  with  some  others 
I  saw  a  man  who  had  come  from  a  hot  country.  We 
warned  him  and  said:  'Wrap  up  your  hands  and  feet 
well  or  they  will  be  destroyed  with  the  cold/  I  can  be 
lieve  that  they  will  be  destroyed  by  heat.  But  it  is 
foolish  to  think  that  cold  will  hurt  them/  said  he,  and 
neglected  our  warning.  After  a  few  days  I  met  him 
again.  His  whole  hand  had  been  destroyed  by  frost. 
And  he  cried  bitterly  that  the  snow  should  have  done 


140  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

him  such  damage.  But  of  what  avail  his  sorrow  now? 
"One  day  a  man  was  standing  under  the  shadow  of 
a  tree.  Speaking  to  the  shadow  he  said,  <0  Shadow! 
You  know  for  certain  that  you  will  come  here  thus  once 
in  every  twenty-four  hours,  but  I  am  not  certain  that  / 
shall  return  here.  And  yet  I  have  nothing  ready  to 
offer  God  in  the  next  world/  .  .  .  Yes,  there  is  a  cer 
tainty  that  many  things  will  come  back,  but  there  is  no 

certainty  that  the  opportunity  for  repentance  will  come 

* » 


again. ' ' 


VII 

THE  HEART  AND  THE  HEAD 
A  REACTION  AGAINST  INTELLECTUALISM 

"  RELIGION  is  a  matter  of  heart.  If  we  give  our  hearts 
we  can  understand  its  truth.  You  can  find  it,  not 
through  the  intellect  nor  through  the  eyes,  but  only 
through  depth  of  heart.  Other  lessons  we  have  to  learn 
from  books ;  to  know  Jesus  Christ  does  not  require  book 
knowledge,  but  you  have  to  give  your  heart." 

The  antithesis  of  the  Heart  and  the  Head  occupies 
very  much  the  same  position  in  the  teaching  of  the  Sadhu 
as  the  antithesis  between  Faith  and  Works  in  the  teach 
ing  of  St.  Paul — and  for  essentially  the  same  reason. 
To  each  of  them  his  antithesis  expresses,  on  the  one  hand, 
an  affirmation  of  that  Christocentric  mysticism  which  is 
to  him  the  essence  of  religion,  and  on  the  other  a  strong 
reaction  against  a  religious  philosophy  from  which  he 
has  emerged.  To  St.  Paul,  Faith,  in  this  connection,  is 
not  assent  to  a  credal  proposition,  but  the  utter  devo 
tion  of  the  lover  to  the  Beloved,  the  primal  movement  of 
the  soul  towards  mystic  union  with  its  Lord.  This  same 
devotion,  this  same  movement,  is  what  the  Sadhu  means 
when  he  says,  "Give  your  heart  to  Christ:  yield  yourself 
to  Him,  let  Him  take  possession  of  you."  "Sometimes 
I  have  tried  to  keep  myself  from  sinning,  but  I  could  not 
overcome  temptations.  When  I  gave  my  heart  to  Jesus 
Christ  it  was  quite  possible."  What  is  this  but  St. 

141 


142  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

Paul's  doctrine  that  we  are  "justified"  through  faith  in 
Jesus  Christ  alone  ? 

Such  difference  as  there  is  between  the  antithesis  of 
St.  Paul  and  of  the  Sadhu  is  due  to  the  difference  of  the 
systems  against  which  they  protest.  St.  Paul  has  felt, 
thought  out,  and  therefore  stated,  his  experience  in  re 
lation  to  a  Jewish  Legalism,  which  conceives  God  pri 
marily  as  Transcendent  and  as  Judge.  The  Sadhu  feels 
and  states  his  in  relation  to  a  Hindu  philosophy  which 
makes  God  the  Universal  Immanent  Life.  By  "Works" 
St.  Paul  means  a  doctrine  of  salvation  by  the  rigid  ob 
servance  of  a  meticulous  system  of  rules  whether  cere 
monial  or  moral.  By  "the  Head"  the  Sadhu  means  a 
doctrine  of  salvation  by  knowledge.  "I  met  a  Hindu 
Sannyasi  who  said,  'Jnana-marga' — that  is,  Knowledge — 
'is  necessary  for  salvation.'  I  told  him  that  in  order  to 
quench  thirst  it  is  necessary  to  have  water,  it  is  not  neces 
sary  to  know  that  it  is  composed  of  oxygen  and  hydrogen. 
Some  Hindu  Sannyasis  are  very  learned  men,  but  they 
have  no  peace." 

The  doctrine  of  salvation  by  Knowledge  is  almost — 
not  quite — as  strongly  entrenched  in  Hindu  thought  as 
the  doctrine  of  salvation  by  works  of  the  Law  was  in  the 
Jewish  system  against  which  St.  Paul  reacted;  and  just 
as  there  were  some  Jews,  and  those  not  shallow  souls, 
who  could  find  religious  contentment  within  and  through 
the  Law — witness  the  author  of  the  one  hundred  and 
nineteenth  Psalm — so  it  has  been  with  Hinduism  and  the 
way  of  salvation  through  knowledge.  Yet  despite  this, 
the  protest  of  the  Sadhu,  like  that  of  St.  Paul,  is  fully 
justified,  if  we  view  the  thing  they  criticize  as  a  whole 
and  not  merely  its  exceptional  products. 

In  England  or  America  those  who  are  interested  in 


THE  HEART  AND  THE  HEAD     143 

religion  at  all  think  of  it  mainly  in  its  relation  to  prac 
tical  ethics.  The  last  subject  on  which  the  average  edu 
cated  man  is  capable  of  talking  with  fluency  and  ease  is 
the  philosophy  of  religion.  It  is  quite  otherwise  in 
India.  Brahminism  has  impressed  the  multitude,  with 
an  elaborate  cultus,  it  has  implanted  in  the  educated  a 
passion  for  philosophical  speculation.  That  the  first 
thing  in  religion  is  neither  ritual  nor  metaphysic,  but  a 
new  heart,  is  a  truism  in  the  West.  In  India  it  is  not 
yet  so. 

Of  course,  in  a  country  so  concerned  with  religion  as 
India,  there  have  been  numerous  protests  against  the 
servitude  of  the  many  to  superstition  and  of  the  few  to 
intellectualism.  The  very  influential  Bhakti  school 
protests  strongly  against  the  dominance  of  intellectual- 
ism  in  religion.  Indeed  there  is  not  a  little  in  the 
Sadhu's  attitude  on  this  subject  which  would  entirely 
commend  itself  to  a  devotee  of  Bhakti. 

The  Sadhu  is  no  more  an  enemy  of  knowledge  than  St. 
Paul  was  an  enemy  of  good  works,  but  he  is  violently  in 
revolt  against  those  who  would  set  it  in  the  first  place. 
We  must  remember  also,  if  we  are  fully  to  appreciate 
the  meaning  of  his  reiterated  depreciation  of  the  things 
of  the  head,  that  in  India  the  missionary  has  often  to 
face  the  objection  that  many  Englishmen  of  ability  and 
education,  though  brought  up  in  Christianity,  have  in 
fact  discarded  it.  Again,  is  it  not  possible  that  even 
among  persons  learned  in  theology  he  may  have  met 
some  who  yet  seemed  strangely  blind  to  the  weightier 
matters  of  the  law ! 

In  religion  the  one  thing  needful  is  a  fine  sense  for 
spiritual  values — the  eye  to  see  the  vision  and  the  will 
to  follow  it.  And  it  was  not  the  Sadhu  who  first  made 


144  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

the  discovery  that  these  things  are  sometimes  hidden 
from  the  wise  and  prudent  and  revealed  to  babes. 

THE  FUNCTION  OF  INTELLECT 

Change  the  terminology  a  little,  substitute  for  " heart" 
the  "conative  and  emotional  aspects  of  the  self,"  and  for 
1  'head"  read  "the  reflective  faculty" — and  what  the 
Sadhu  has  to  say  on  the  function  of  intellect  comes  very 
near  to  what  some  modern  psychologists  are  teaching. 

"The  heart  is  the  innermost  part  of  our  soul.  It  re 
ceives,  as  it  were,  wireless  messages  from  the  unseen 
world.  The  head  is  concerned  with  visible  things.  It 
is  the  heart  that  sees  and  feels  the  heart  of  spiritual 
reality.  My  head  acquiesces  in  what  I  have  seen  with 
my  heart.  If  I  had  not  seen  them  first,  my  head  would 
not  have  believed  them.  The  heart  is  beyond  the  head. 

"Knowledge  obtained  by  the  head  does  not  go  down 
below  the  throat.  I  once  picked  a  stone  out  of  a  pool 
and  broke  it.  About  six  or  seven  inches  of  it  were  wet, 
but  inside  and  in  the  center  that  stone  was  quite  dry. 
That  stone  was  in  the  water  but  the  water  was  not  in  the 
stone.  It  is  the  same  with  men.  Some  in  the  Christian 
Church  know  a  great  deal  about  Him,  but  the  center  of 
their  heart  is  dry.  Christ  is  not  in  their  hearts. 

"Sometimes  I  have  been  asked  by  lowly  people  of 
India,  '  If  learned  men  do  not  believe  in  Christianity  then 
how  can  we  believe  ? '  I  said  :  '  It  is  a  most  foolish  thing 
to  ask  them.  They  may  be  specialists  on  the  subjects  on 
which  they  spend  their  lives,  their  opinion  on  these  is 
of  great  value ;  but  in  spiritual  things  they  may  be  like 
children — they  may  know  nothing.  The  man  of  prayer 


THE  HEART  AND  THE  HEAD     145 

is  the  only  one  whose  opinion  is  worth  having  in  regard 
to  religion.  Mystics  are  the  specialists  in  religion. ' ' 

"But,"  we  asked,  ''how  can  one  test  the  validity  for 
others  of  the  knowledge  which  the  mystic  obtains  by 
direct  incommunicable  intuition?" 

"From  his  life  you  can  be  sure  that  the  mystic  is  not 
telling  an  untruth.  Therefore  he  should  be  listened  to. 
Then  try  and  live  out  what  he  says  in  your  own  experi 
ence. 

"It  is  foolish  in  religious  matters  to  accept  the  judg 
ment  of  scientists  who  have  no  spiritual  experience. 
Learned  men,  who  can  find  out  when  an  eclipse  of  the 
sun  will  take  place,  may  know  nothing  of  the  eclipse  of 
sin." 

The  highest  kind  of  spiritual  knowledge  is  not  at 
tained  by  the  mere  exercise  of  the  intellect  but  by  the 
strengthening  and  illumining  of  the  intellect  by  Christ. 
"The  eyes  have  the  capacity  to  see  but  they  cannot  see 
until  the  rays  of  light  fall  on  them.  So  the  eyes  of  the 
intellect  have  the  capacity  to  see  but  they  cannot  see 
until  the  rays  from  the  Sun  of  Righteousness  fall  on 
them." 

VAIN  INQUIRY 

' '  One  day  a  father  took  a  ball  of  string  which  was  all 
in  a  tangle  and  tried  to  unravel  it.  It  took  several  hours 
for  him  to  do  so.  His  little  son,  who  was  observing  him, 
took  another  piece  of  string,  and  tying  one  end  to  a  tree 
made  a  noose  at  the  other.  Then  he  put  the  noose  around 
his  neck  and  contrived  to  hang  himself,  while  the  father 
was  still  intent  on  the  tangle.  His  mother  saw  her  son 
thus  hanging  and  came  running  to  the  spot.  'Wretch!' 


146  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

she  cried.  'The  child  is  dying.  Instead  of  saving  him 
you  are  straightening  out  a  tangle  in  your  string.'  By 
that  time  the  child  was  dead.  Such  is  the  result  of  vain 
inquiry.  The  time  so  spent  might  have  been  used  for 
saving  millions  of  perishing  souls. 

"Some  years  ago  I  saw  a  child  with  an  onion  in  his 
hand  and  he  was  taking  off  its  many  skins  one  by  one. 
He  said,  '  I  am  removing  its  covers  of  skins  to  see  what  is 
inside. '  I  said,  '  It  is  made  of  skins  only. '  But  he  said, 
'I  am  sure  there  must  be  something  in  it.'  He  kept  on 
peeling  the  skins  off  until  there  was  nothing  left.  Lots 
of  people  act  like  that  with  religion.  They  are  always 
asking  questions,  with  the  result  that  they  cannot  find 
anything  of  the  spiritual  vision. 

"Some  time  ago  I  was  talking  to  a  friend  of  mine  in 
India,  a  very  clever  man,  a  chemist.  He  took  a  cup  of 
milk  and  began  to  analyze  it.  He  told  us  that  there  was 
so  much  water,  so  much  sugar,  and  so  much  of  other 
things.  He  could  tell  us  all  that;  but  I  said,  'A  little 
child  cannot  analyze  this  milk,  but  he  knows  two  things 
from  his  experience.  He  knows  it  is  sweet  and  he  knows 
it  is  making  him  stronger.  He  is  getting  stronger  day 
by  day.  He  cannot  explain  to  you  how  it  happens,  but 
he  knows  it.  But  you/  I  said  to  my  friend,  'by  your 
analyzing  of  it  derive  no  benefit  from  it,  and  you  spoil 
the  milk.'  This  child  is  wiser  than  the  chemist." 

"But,"  we  objected,  "in  the  long  run  does  not  the 
chemist  do  good  by  his  analysis?" 

"Yes,  but  there  are  some  people  who  do  nothing  but 
analyze  their  milk  all  the  time.  They  never  drink  it. 

"A  man  came  to  our  Savior  with  a  withered  hand. 
The  Savior  knew  his  desire  to  be  healed.  He  said, 
'Stretch  forth  thy  hand':  the  man  did  so,  and  it  was 


THE  HEART  AND  THE  HEAD     147 

made  whole.  If  he  had  argued  he  would  not  have  been 
healed.  He  did  not  want  to  argue  with  his  Savior.  He 
was  able  to  stretch  forth  his  hand.  I  must  do  the  same 
and  believe  the  truth.  We  shall  see  wonderful  things  if 
we  obey." 

THE  MORAL  OBSTACLE 

Moral  obtuseness,  the  Sadhu  thinks,  is  often  at  the 
root  of  unbelief.  "Many  people  are  not  able  to  under 
stand  and  perceive  spiritual  truth  because  they  are 
numb  with  sin.  They  are  like  a  leper  whose  leg  was 
burnt  in  the  fire  and  yet  who  was  so  numb  that  he  did 
not  feel  the  pain.  Repent  of  your  sins  and  ask  God's 
forgiveness.  Then  you  will  feel  Christ's  presence. 
Christ's  presence  cannot  be  explained.  It  must  be  felt." 

"In  such  cases,"  we  asked,  "how  do  you  try  and 
arouse  people  out  of  this  numbness?"  "I  speak  of 
Christ,  who  is  the  only  hope  for  leprosy. 

'I  have  seen  a  bridge  of  water  over  water/  Once 
when  preaching  I  said  this  to  the  people.  They  said, 
'There  might  be  a  bridge  of  wood  or  stone,  but  how 
could  there  be  a  bridge  of  water?'  In  that  part  of  the 
world  they  never  have  cold  weather  and  have  never  seen 
the  surface  of  a  river  hard  frozen.  That  was  the  bridge 
of  water  over  the  water,  but  they  could  not  understand. 
How  can  a  man  who  has  always  lived  in  a  hot  country 
understand  that  there  can  be  a  bridge  of  water  over  the 
water?  Just  so  those  who  are  living  in  their  sins  are 
like  men  who  never  go  up  to  the  high  mountains  where 
the  bridge  of  water  over  the  water  can  be  seen,  and  thus 
they  cannot  understand  religious  truth;  but  those  who 
are  living  a  life  of  prayer  are  like  men  who  are  living 
in  cold  countries,  they  can  understand." 


148  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

KNOWLEDGE  OF  CHRIST 

The  Sadhu  frequently  stresses  the  distinction  between 
''knowing"  Christ  and  ''knowing  about"  Christ.  "St. 
Paul  said,  '  I  am  not  ashamed,  for  I  know  whom  I  have 
believed.7  He  suffered  many  things  for  many  years, 
but  he  was  not  ashamed  because  he  knew  Him  in  whom 
he  believed.  Nowadays  there  are  many  people  who 
know  about  Jesus  Christ  but  very  few  who  can  say,  'I 
know  whom  I  have  believed.'  Those  who  are  bigoted  in 
their  religion,  they  also  'know  about'  Jesus  Christ,  but 
they  do  not  'know'  Him.  To  know  Him  and  to  know 
about  Him  is  a  great  difference.  St.  Paul  must  have 
seen  Him  and  heard  about  Him  before  he  was  converted. 
When  he  knew  about  Jesus1  Christ  he  used  to  persecute 
the  Christians,  but  when  he  got  to  know  Christ  he  him 
self  was  persecuted. 

"Last  month  when  one  of  my  Indian  friends  was 
shown  a  daffodil,  he  was  surprised.  He  knew  a  great 
deal  about  that  flower :  he  used  to  read  about  it  for  ex 
aminations,  the  poetry  of  Wordsworth  told  him  some 
thing  about  daffodils,  but  he  had  never  seen  one  and  he 
could  not  recognize  it  when  he  was  told.  It  is  quite 
possible  for  many  people  to  know  a  lot  about  Christ 
without  knowing  Him.  Those  who  know  Him  will  find 
peace  and  joy  and  happiness  and  salvation. 

"Many  souls  have  been  saved  in  India,  some  of  whom 
are  very  simple  men.  One  man  I  know  there  is  quite 
illiterate,  but  a  wonderful  man  when  he  bears  his  wit 
ness.  He  used  to  say,  'I  was  a  "sweeper,"1  but  now, 
by  His  grace,  I  am  a  "son."  I  know  Him,  because  He 

i  The  "sweepers"  who  do  scavenging  and  other  such  work  are  one 
of  the  lowest  castes  in  India. 


THE  HEART  AND  THE  HEAD     149 

is  in  my  heart ;  and  if  you  will  give  your  heart  to  Him 
you  will  know  Him  too. '  ' 

A  student  at  Oxford,  a  candidate  for  the  Pass  Degree, 
was  much  impressed  at  a  meeting  in  which  the  Sadhu 
discoursed  on  these  lines.  He  rushed  off  to  the  Head  of 
a  Theological  College  and  said:  "I  agree  with  the 
Sadhu  about  the  uselessness  of  getting  mere  knowledge. 
As  soon  as  I  get  my  B.  A.  I  am  going  out  as  a  missionary. 
I  don't  think  I  need  any  theological  training."  This 
was  reported  to  the  Sadhu,  who  said:  "That  is  not 
what  I  meant.  Ministers  do  need  training.  What  I 
meant  was  that  learning  without  life  is  dry  bones."  He 
continued:  "I  am  not  opposed  to  knowledge  as  such. 
Only  I  am  raising  a  strong  protest  against  the  modern 
tendency  to  emphasize  learning  too  much.  Let  me  give 
you  an  illustration.  Luther  vehemently  emphasized  jus 
tification  by  faith  as  a  protest  against  the  Roman  emphasis 
on  works.  He  did  not  despise  works  altogether." 

Already  in  New  Testament  times  there  were  those 
who,  from  St.  Paul's  reiterated  emphasis  on  faith,  de 
duced  that  good  works  could  be  dispensed  with.  In  his 
epistles  we  are  told  (II  Peter  iii.  16)  "are  some  things 
hard  to  be  understood,  which  they  that  are  unlearned  and 
unstable  wrest  .  .  .  unto  their  own  destruction."  If 
by  a  similar  reiteration  of  the  importance  of  a  heart's 
devotion  to  Christ,  the  Sadhu  has  laid  himself  open  to  a 
similar  misinterpretation — he  has  done  it  in  good  com 
pany. 


VIII 
NATURE  AND  THE  BIBLE 

THE  BOOK  OF  NATURE 

NATURE  has  an  extraordinary  fascination  for  the 
Sadhu.  But  he  does  not  love  Nature  in  the  spirit  of  St. 
Francis,  preaching  to  the  swallows  or  singing  his  canticle 
to  "brother  Sun."  Nor,  again,  has  he  that  feeling  of 
immanent  Divinity  which  marks  the  nature-mysticism  of 
a  Wordsworth.  The  Sadhu 's  point  of  view  is  much 
nearer  to  the  Hebrew.  The  Hebrew  attitude  is  thus  de 
scribed  by  Dr.  Sanday  in  an  unpublished  paper  written 
just  before  his  death:  "The  Greeks  studied  nature  for 
its  own  sake :  they  observed  it  for  its  own  sake  and  they 
analyzed  it  for  its  own  sake.  As  their  disciples,  we  do 
the  same.  But  the  Hebrew  Prophets  eared  very  little 
for  these  things.  They  were  interested  in  nature,  and 
have  left  behind  them  magnificent  descriptions  of  nature : 
but  that  was  not  for  the  sake  of  a  purely  calm  contempla 
tion  of  nature  in  itself.  They  always  had  an  ulterior 
object ;  they  were  always  thinking  of  nature  as  the  han 
diwork  and  expression  of  God.  What  they,  the  Hebrew 
prophets,  were  really  bent  upon  was,  as  I  said,  the  things 
of  the  spirit.  And  as  many  of  these  things  could  not, 
or  could  not  readily,  be  expressed  directly,  they  were 
glad  to  express  them  indirectly:  and  as  nature  is  full  of 
analogies  between  the  things  of  the  body  or  material 
things,  and  the  things  of  the  spirit,  they  were  glad  to 

150 


NATURE  AND  THE  BIBLE  151 

make  use  of  these  analogies  in  their  task  of  expounding 
these  latter  to  the  mind  of  their  hearers.  In  other 
words,  they  used  them  not  for  their  own  sake  but  as 
symbols. ' ' 

"The  heavens  declare  the  glory  of  God  and  the  firma 
ment  showeth  his  handiwork."  The  Sadhu  loves  Na 
ture  not  so  much  because  he  feels  God  in  Nature,  but  be 
cause  God  made  Nature  and  Nature  is  to  him  an  open 
book  speaking  in  parables  about  the  things  of  God.  He 
loves  the  beauty,  especially  the  snow-clad  beauty  of  the 
Himalayas,  but  it  is  less  for  the  sake  of  the  beauty  itself 
than  because  in  those  eternal  solitudes  it  is  easier  to  hold 
communion  with  God  and  to  read  the  great  truths,  which 
are  written,  as  he  says,  all  over  Nature  in  capital  letters. 
Not  only  beautiful  but  also  unattractive  sights  of  Nature 
—barren  stretches  of  sand,  festering  decay — discourse 
to  him  in  parables  of  God.  Hence  the  phrase  he  so  often 
uses — the  Book  of  Nature. 

The  saint  or  the  genius  ever  fails  to  comprehend  why 
other  people  cannot  see  what  is  so  obvious  to  himself. 
So  the  Sadhu  wonders  why  there  are  so  few  who  ha 
bitually  read  the  Book  of  Nature  and  derive  from  it  the 
comfort  and  inspiration  which  he  himself  finds  there. 
The  fruits  of  his  reading  in  that  book  are  the  illustra 
tions  and  parables  which  make  up  the  greater  part  of 
his  teaching. 

"To  read  other  books  you  must  master  painfully  the 
language  in  which  those  books  are  written,  but  this  is  not 
so  with  the  Book  of  Nature.  It  is  written  in  a  language 
which  is  simple  and  intelligible  to  all."  "Live  with 
Christ,  and  the  Book  of  Nature  will  be  clear  to  you." 
To  the  Sadhu  it  is  rest  as  well  as  illumination.  Asked 
what  relaxation  he  had,  living  as  he  did  a  life  of  high 


152  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

tension,  he  said,  "Reading  the  pages  of  the  Book  of  Na 
ture."  The  thought  of  crossing  the  English  Channel  on 
his  way  to  Paris  filled  him  with  delight,  for  it  would  pro 
vide  him  with  another  opportunity  to  study  Nature. 
He  stood  on  the  deck  and  gazed  at  the  deep  blue  sea,  joy 
beaming  on  his  face. 

He  compares  and  contrasts  the  Bible  and  the  Book  of 
Nature. 

"The  Bible  and  the  Book  of  Nature  are  both  written 
in  spiritual  language  by  the  Holy  Spirit.  The  Holy 
Spirit  being  the  author  of  life,  all  Nature,  instinct  with 
life,  is  the  work  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  and  the  language  in 
which  it  is  written  is  spiritual  language.  Those  who 
are  born  again  have  the  Holy  Spirit  for  their  mother. 
So  to  them  the  language  of  the  Bible  and  of  Nature  is 
their  mother  tongue,  which  they  easily  and  naturally  un 
derstand."  The  difference,  however,  between  the  Bible 
and  the  Book  of  Nature  is  this:  "The  message  of  the 
Bible  is  simple,  direct  and  straightforward,  whereas  the 
message  of  the  Book  of  Nature  has  to  be  spelled  out  care 
fully  letter  by  letter. ' '  In  the  Bible  itself  the  Sadhu  dis 
covers  instances  of  a  use  of  the  Book  of  Nature  similar  to 
his  own,  in  passages  like  "Wash  me,  and  I  shall  be 
whiter  than  snow,"  x  or  "He  shall  be  like  a  tree  planted 
by  the  water-side,  that  bringeth  forth  his  fruit  in  due 
season. ' ' 2  Curiously  enough  he  did  not  mention  in  this 
connection  the  parables  of  our  Lord. 

He  was  asked,  "Is  there  any  difference  between  your 
study  and  the  Hindu's  study  of  the  Book  of  Nature? 
Did  not  the  Hindu  seers,  the  poets  of  the  Vedic  hymns, 
also  read  the  pages  of  the  Book  of  Nature  ? "  "  Yes,  they 
did,"  he  replied,  "but  they  lost  God  in  Nature.  The 
i  Ps.  li.  7.  2  pa.  i.  3. 


NATURE  AND  THE  BIBLE  153 

Christian  mystic  finds  God  in  Nature.  The  Hindu  mys 
tic  thinks  that  God  and  Nature  are  the  same.  The  Chris 
tian  mystic  knows  that  there  must  be  a  Creator  who  has 
created  the  creation." 

The  Sadhu  remarked  that  to  him  the  Book  of  Nature 
of  which  he  speaks  includes  also  human  nature.  His 
illustrations  are  drawn  not  only  from  trees,  plants  and 
animals,  rivers  and  mountains,  but  from  the  varied 
drama  of  human  life.  But  though  men  and  women,  with 
their  motives  and  their  difficulties,  furnish  him  with 
abundant  material  for  shrewd  and  observant  contempla 
tion,  he  does  not  view  humanity  with  the  eye  of  a 
Dickens  delighting  in  its  idiosyncrasies,  or  of  a  Mere 
dith  turning  his  microscope  upon  its  subtlest  intricacies, 
but  rather  with  that  of  a  preacher,  who  is  also  an  artist, 
seeing  everywhere  the  material  for  a  telling  parable. 
Moreover,  though  interested  in  men  and  their  ways,  he 
is  nothing  of  a  sightseer.  When  he  was  in  Oxford  boat 
races  were  in  progress,  but  he  declined  an  invitation  to 
go  and  see  them.  Nor  did  he  display  any  special  pleas 
ure  in  the  fine  buildings  and  other  sights  of  the  city. 
He  does,  indeed,  take  pleasure  in  visiting  new  scenes ;  but 
this  springs  more,  we  surmise,  from  a  desire  to  get  a 
sort  of  bird's-eye  view  of  God's  world  than  from  any 
thing  like  the  zest  for  exploration  which  fires  the  ordi 
nary  traveler.  He  is  glad  to  see  famous  cities;  but  "I 
don't  like  cities,"  he  said  once,  "they  are  rough  pages 
of  the  Book  of  Nature." 


THE  BIBLE 

When  asked  which  were  his  favorite  books  of  the 
Bible,  the  Sadhu  answered,  "The  Bible,  like  a  lump  of 


154  SADHU  SUNDAE  SINGH 

sugar,  is  sweet  to  me  at  whatever  point  I  taste  it." 
Nevertheless  he  does  in  practice  draw  distinctions.  The 
New  Testament  is  the  staple  of  his  spiritual  food.  This, 
on  account  of  its  smaller  size,  he  is  able  always  to  carry 
with  him,  in  the  Urdu  version,  being,  indeed,  beside  his 
blanket  and  his  robe,  his  only  earthly  possession.  In  his 
addresses  he  constantly  quotes  the  New  Testament,  but 
only  rarely  refers  to  the  Old — and  then  usually,  to  the 
Psalms.  Of  the  visions  in  Ezekiel  he  said  once,  "They 
are  riddles.  Sometimes  you  catch  a  glimpse  of  their 
meaning  and  sometimes  not."  And  when  asked  whether 
he  was  specially  attracted  to  the  Book  of  Revelation,  he 
replied,  "Not  very  much."  The  Gospel  of  St.  John  is 
the  book  which  he  reads  most  often  and  to  which  he 
most  often  refers. 

Asked  why  he  is  so  much  drawn  to  St.  John's  Gospel, 
he  replied  that  it  was  because  it  is  so  simple  and  yet  so 
deep;  and  also  because,  being  written  by  the  beloved 
disciple  of  Jesus,  it  gives  a  new  and  marvelous  insight 
into  His  character  and  possesses  a  charm  all  its  own. 
"St.  John  leaned  on  Christ's  breast.  He  had  a  warm 
heart  and  spoke,  not  mouth  to  mouth,  but  heart  to  heart 
with  Jesus.  So  he  understood  him  better."  Again, 
"St.  John  bore  witness  for  Him  whom  he  knew.  He  did 
not  say  'whom  I  have  read  of  in  books  or  heard  about  as 
the  Savior  of  the  world,'  but  Svhom  we  have  looked 
upon.'  He  lived  with  Him  three  years,  day  and  night. 
He  loved  our  Savior  more  than  others  and  he  could  un 
derstand  the  love  of  his  Savior  and  bear  witness  for 
Him.  How  many  of  us  could  say  the  same  thing,  that 
we  have  heard  and  seen  Him,  that  our  hands  have  han 
dled  Him,  that  we  can  bear  witness  for  Him?"  It  is 
the  Sadhu's  desire  some  day  to  expound  the  Gospel  of 


NATURE  AND  THE  BIBLE  155 

St.  John,  using  his  own  characteristic  method  of  illus 
tration.  It  is  to  be  hoped  he  may  carry  out  his  intention. 
"When  I  was  traveling  in  the  Central  Provinces  I  was 
talking  to  some  non-Christians  about  our  living  Savior. 
I  finished  speaking,  and  I  asked  those  people  if  any  one 
would  like  to  read  the  Bible  to  know  something  more 
about  Jesus  Christ.  There  was  a  man  there,  an  enemy 
of  Christianity.  He  took  a  copy  of  St.  John's  Gospel. 
He  read  two  or  three  sentences,  and  then  straightway 
tore  it  into  pieces  and  threw  it  away.  This  was  in  a 
compartment  in  the  train.  After  two  years  I  heard  a 
wonderful  story.  The  same  day  that  this  man  took  St. 
John's  Gospel  and  tore  it  up  into  pieces  and  threw  it 
out  of  the  window,  a  seeker  after  truth  was  going  along 
the  railway  line.  He  was  a  real  seeker  after  truth.  For 
six  or  seven  years  he  had  tried  his  hardest  to  find  the 
truth ;  but  he  was  not  satisfied.  As  he  was  going  along 
the  railway  line  thinking  over  these  things,  he  found  the 
torn  pieces  of  the  Gospel,  and  he  took  them  up  and  began 
to  read.  He  saw  the  words  'everlasting  life.'  Accord 
ing  to  Hinduism  it  may  be  true  that  we  are  not  going  to 
die,  but  that  we  shall  live  through  transmigration,  and 
come  back  again  into  this  world.  But  'everlasting  life'! 
Then  in  another  piece  of  the  Gospel  he  saw  the  words 
'the  Bread  of  Life.'  He  was  anxious  to  know  something 
about  it.  What  was  that  Bread  of  Life  ?  He  showed  the 
pieces  to  another  man  and  said  to  him,  'Can  you  tell 
me  what  this  book  is?  I  am  sorry  that  somebody  tore  it 
up.'  The  man  said,  'That  is  Christian.  You  must  not 
read  it.  You  will  be  defiled.  You  must  not  read  such 
books.'  At  last  he  said,  'I  must  know  something  more. 
There  is  no  danger  in  knowing  more  about  these  things. ' 
He  went  and  bought  a  copy  of  the  New  Testament  and 


156  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

began  to  read  it — and  he  found  our  Savior.  Now  he  is 
a  preacher  of  the  Gospel  in  the  Central  Provinces. 
Really  the  torn  pieces  of  St.  John's  Gospel  proved  to  be 
a  piece  of  the  living  Bread — the  Bread  of  Life." 

The  Sadhu  tells  several  similar  stories  of  cases  where 
the  New  Testament  has  penetrated  and  produced  conver 
sions  among  those  whom  no  missionary  has  been  able  to 
reach.  Naturally  Christianity  so  reached  may  some 
times  include  eccentric  elements.  "In  one  Buddhist 
temple  in  Western  Tibet  when  I  went  to  see  the  library 
of  the  Lama,  the  Buddhist  priest,  I  was  surprised  to  see 
a  copy  of  the  New  Testament  there,  and  I  asked  him, 
'Where  did  you  get  it?'  He  said,  'It  is  a  wonderful 
book.  There  are  many  wonderful  things  in  this  book. 
Do  you  know  who  is  that  Jesus  Christ  in  the  Bible  ?  He 
must  have  been  an  incarnation  of  Buddha.'  I  said,  'I 
believe  in  Him.  He  is  my  Savior  and  the  Savior  of  the 
world/  The  priest  replied,  'I  do  not  know  whether  He 
is  the  Savior  of  the  world;  but  I  know  that  He  is  an 
incarnation  of  Buddha,  and  Tibet  is  the  roof  of  the 
world,  and  He  is  coming  again  and  His  throne  will  be 
in  Tibet,  and  He  will  rule  over  all  the  world  because  it 
is  the  roof  of  the  world.  So  we  are  expecting  Him  and 
He  will  come  back  again,  and  He  will  reign  in  this  world, 
the  incarnation  of  Buddha,  Jesus  Christ.'  : 

Of  the  real  aim  and  significance  of  the  modern  critical 
approach  to  the  Bible  the  Sadhu  has  probably  little  or 
no  first-hand  knowledge ;  but  by  what  he  does  know  about 
it  he  is  strongly  repelled.  He  is  indeed  seriously  con 
cerned  about  "this  spiritual  influenza,"  as  he  calls  it, 
and  about  the  disposition  to  regard  our  Lord  merely  as 
a  great  moral  teacher,  which  he  believes  to  be  its  result. 

Coming  from  such  a  man  the  protest  demands  con- 


NATURE  AND  THE  BIBLE  157 

sideration.  There  are  Scholars  who  do  need  reminding 
that  Prophets,  Psalmists  and  Apostles  were— like  the 
Sadhu — men  who  lived  in,  with  and  for  God.  Some  of 
them  saw  the  light  less  clearly  than  others,  but  all  were 
mystics  of  the  only  true  type— that  is,  men  who  know 
God,  because  they  have  loved  God  and  striven  to  do  His 
will.  Amans  ab  amante  accenditur,  says  St.  Augustine, 
"lover  is  set  afire  by  lover."  He  who  approaches  their 
writings  in  something  of  the  spirit  in  which  he  would 
approach  the  Sacrament  may  himself  catch  fire;  he  too 
may  find  God.  And  he  should  be  the  better  able  to  do 
this  if  he  has  enough  knowledge  of  the  history,  outlook 
and  surroundings  of  the  writers  to  bring  to  his  reading 
the  imaginative  insight  which  is  needed  for  the  full  un 
derstanding  and  appreciation  of  all  great  literature. 
The  critical  study  of  the  Bible  is  far  the  most  important 
branch  of  Sacred  Archeology  and  of  Church  History— 
but  it  is  archaeology  and  history,  and  no  more.  Once 
let  the  microscopic  study  of  documents  and  dates  be 
come  an  obsession,  blinding  one  to  the  weightier  matters 
of  the  law,  and  a  " spiritual  influenza"  does  indeed  re 
sult.  "These  ought  ye  to  have  done  and  not  to  leave 
the  other  undone." 

But  the  Sadhu 's  own  view  of  inspiration,  from  the 
standpoint  of  which  he  criticizes  critics,  is  by  no  means 
the  rigid  mechanical  theory  which  some  Western  theo 
logians  of  the  older  school  have  upheld.  It  demands  no 
verbal  infallibility. 

"When  I  was  staying  in  North  India  in  the  house  of 
a  friend  I  was  reading  a  religious  book  in  which  were 
some  things  I  did  not  understand.  My  host,  a  D.D.  and 
a  Ph.D.,  explained  my  difficulties,  and  his  explanation 
sounded  to  me  quite  satisfactory.  Later  on,  however,  I 


158  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

met  the  author,  who  explained  to  me  his  real  meaning, 
which  was  very  different.  Just  so,  learned  men  very 
often  misinterpret  the  Scripture.  If  we  want  to  know 
the  real  meaning  we  must  go  to  the  Author,  that  is  to 
say,  we  must  live  with  the  Holy  Spirit. 

"The  Holy  Spirit  is  the  true  Author  of  the  Scriptures, 
but  I  do  not  therefore  say  that  every  word,  as  it  is  writ 
ten  in  the  Hebrew  or  the  Greek,  is  inspired.  Just  as  my 
clothes  are  not  myself,  so  words  are  only  human  lan 
guage.  It  is  not  the  words,  but  the  inward  meaning 
that  is  inspired.  The  language  used  by  the  authors  of 
the  Bible  was  the  same  language  as  that  of  ordinary  life, 
and  therefore  was  not  really  adequate  for  spiritual 
things.  Hence  our  difficulty  in  getting  back  through  the 
words  to  the  real  meaning,  but  to  those  who  are  in  con 
tact  with  the  author,  that  is  with  the  Holy  Spirit,  every 
thing  is  plain.  'My  words  are  spirit,  and  they  are  life,' 
but  it  was  of  the  meaning,  not  the  letter,  that  this  was 
spoken.  When  the  Holy  Spirit  speaks  to  men  He  does 
not  speak  in  human  words,  but  in  that  language  of  the 
heart,  that  direct  wordless  speech  of  the  spiritual  world, 
which  I  hear  in  Ecstasy. 

"When  I  am  in  Ecstasy  and  speak  to  the  Angels  and 
Saints,  it  is  not  in  the  language  of  this  world,  but  in  a 
spiritual  language  without  words  which  seems  to  come 
quite  naturally.  Before  I  utter  a  word  or  move  my  lips 
the  meaning  is  out;  and  this  is  the  same  language  in 
which  truth  was  communicated  to  the  authors  of  the 
Scripture.  Afterwards  they  tried  to  find  words  to  ex 
press  what  had  been  revealed  to  them.  But  often  they 
may  have  failed  to  get  just  the  right  word,  but  the 
meaning  they  were  trying  to  express  is  inspired.  They 
must  have  felt  acutely  this  difficulty  in  expressing  the 


NATURE  AND  THE  BIBLE  159 

full  meaning  of  what  often  cannot  be  really  put  into 
words,  and  after  they  had  written  it  down,  having  done 
their  best,  they  must  have  thought  to  themselves,  '  After 
all,  something  is  better  than  nothing,  and  we  must  give 
our  message.'  ' 

Speaking  of  the  Bible  on  another  occasion  he  said, 
"We  take  food.  The  valuable  part  of  our  food  is  di 
gested  and  the  useless  part  goes  away  in  filth.  The  soul 
will  assimilate  naturally  the  elements  which  are  good 
for  itself:  the  rest  will  go  away  of  themselves." 

Of  the  part  played  by  the  Bible  in  his  own  conver 
sion,  he  speaks  thus : 1 

"I  used  to  read  the  Bible  and  I  felt  the  power  of  the 
Word  of  God.  Of  course,  I  did  not  like  it  sometimes. 
I  used  to  criticize  it  and  I  used  to  tear  up  the  Bible  and 
burn  it  in  the  fire.  But  even  then  I  must  confess  that 
sometimes  I  felt  its  wonderful  power  and  attraction.  It 
was  a  sort  of  fresh  cool  breeze — perhaps  that  illustration 
will  not  appeal  to  you — you  prefer  fire  more  than  a 
breeze;  but  to  those  who  are  living  in  hot  countries  the 
cool  breeze  is  refreshing — the  breath  of  life.  As  a  seeker 
after  truth  I  tried  first  to  be  satisfied,  to  find  peace  and 
joy,  from  Hinduism  or  wherever  I  could  find  it.  But 
the  scriptures  of  Hinduism,  the  good  teaching  of  other 
religions,  could  not  satisfy  me.  When  I  used  to  read  the 
Word  of  God,  I  felt  that  it  was  a  refreshing  cool  breeze, 
the  breath  of  life.  Although  I  used  to  tear  it  up,  I  felt 
its  power.  Many  others  felt  the  power  of  the  Word  of 
God.  They  used  to  say,  'You  must  not  read  the  Bible/ 
'Why?'  'Because  of  its  magic.  You  will  become  a 

i  This,  and  the  stories,  pp.  155-56  are  from  an  address  at  the 
Annual  Meeting  of  the  Bible  Society  in  London.  Cf.  The  Bible 
in  the  World,  June,  1920. 


160  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

Christian.  Many  who  began  by  reading  the  Bible  have 
become  Christians.  You  must  not  read  it.'  Some  of 
those  who  were  non-Christians  and  who  were  opposed  to 
'Christianity  realized  that  there  was  power  in  it.  I  used 
to  feel  in  those  days  the  wonderful  power  and  attraction 
of  the  Word  of  God.  I  came  to  know  my  Savior. 
Through  the  Word  of  God  I  was  introduced  to  my  Sa 
vior.  I  knew  Jesus  Christ  through  the  Bible.  When 
He  revealed  Himself  to  me  in  a  vision  I  became  con 
verted  and  I  felt  heaven  on  earth." 

The  last  three  sentences  sum  up  his  whole  position. 
In  his  view  of  the  Bible,  as  in  everything  else,  he  is  the 
mystic  whose  mysticism  centers  on  Christ.  Or,  as  he 
himself  puts  it,  "The  purpose  of  the  Gospels  is  merely 
to  introduce  us  to  Christ. " 


MIRACLES 

The  Sadhu  believes  implicitly  in  miracles.  "The  day 
of  miracles  is  not  gone,  the  day  of  faith  is."  And  he 
regards — whether  justly  or  otherwise,  we  need  not  here 
consider — those  who  hesitate  to  accept  the  miracles  of 
the  Bible  as  holding  a  diminished  conception  of  the 
power  of  God.  "Formerly  the  Bible  used  to  be  a  large 
book.  Now  it  is  printed  in  such  a  way  that  men  carry 
it  in  their  right  pocket.  So  formerly  God  used  to  be 
thought  of  in  a  large  way.  Now  men  are  trying  to 
make  God  small  and  to  carry  Him  in  their  left-hand 
pocket. "  "  The  miracle  of  the  new  birth  is  the  greatest 
of  all  miracles.  He  who  believes  in  that  miracle  believes 
in  all  miracles." 

"The  Saints  in  Heaven,  though  they  help  men  spir 
itually  on  earth,  are  not  allowed  to  come  down  and  work 


NATURE  AND  THE  BIBLE  161 

directly,  but  only  indirectly,  through  other  men.  The 
angels  could  easily  convert  the  world  in  ten  minutes. 
Some  of  them  have  asked  for  the  privilege  of  being  al 
lowed  to  suffer  in  this  world,  but  God  refused  their  re 
quest,  because  He  did  not  wish  to  interfere  with  men's 
freedom  by  such  an  exercise  of  miraculous  power.  The 
Apostles  were  allowed  to  work  miracles  in  order  to 
prove  that  they  as  well  as  Christ  had  authority  behind 
their  word,  and  miracles  are  still  occasionally  allowed 
but  not  often. "* 

In  London  or  New  York  everything  that  strikes  the 
eye  speaks  of  organization,  invention  and  the  science 
that  has  made  all  this  possible.  Nature  appears  to  have 
been  all  but  tamed  by  man,  and  the  conception  of  the 
Reign  of  Law  appeals  to  the  imagination  as  well  as  to 
the  reason — and  it  is  hard  to  believe  in  miracles. 

In  an  Indian  village,  upon  mountains  like  the  Hima 
layas,  by  rivers  like  the  Ganges,  where  the  luxuriance 
of  tropical  forest  alternates  with  the  vast  expanse  of 
endless  plow-land  or  of  desert  plain,  haunted  by  the 
scorch  of  the  sun  by  day  and  the  jungle's  multitudinous 
hum  by  night,  man,  cowed  and  defenseless,  senses  the 
One  behind  it  all  as  palpitating  with  mysterious  and 
wholly  incalculable  Power.  Add  to  this  an  ancient  cul 
ture,  exuberant  in  tales  of  marvel,  entirely  lacking  in 
the  scientific  spirit — and  it  is  difficult  to  disbelieve  in 
miracle. 

To  take  up  one  side  or  the  other  in  such  a  contro 
versy,  or  even  to  argue  at  length  that  the  issue  is  one 
which  really  matters  very  little  to  the  religious  man, 
would  be  inappropriate  in  this  place.  Our  purpose  is 

i  This,  the  Sadhu  said,  was  told  him  once  when  in  Ecstasy. 
Cf.  p.  87 


162  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

to  portray  the  Sadhu  as  he  is;  but,  if  the  portrait  is  to 
be  a  true  one,  the  background  it  stands  out  against  must 
be  seen  to  be  his  environment,  not  ours. 

The  Sadhu  believes  in  miracles,  not  merely  because 
he  finds  them  in  the  Bible,  and  in  the  Book  of  Nature  as 
it  reads  most  naturally  to  rural  India's  eyes,  but  be 
cause  they  have  happened,  or  have  seemed  to  happen, 
to  himself. 

The  following  is  taken  from  the  shorthand  report  of 
the  address  given  to  the  meeting  presided  over  by  the 
Bishop  of  London,  mentioned  above  (cf.  p.  18).  The 
experience  described  is  his  own  and  in  India  he  has  often 
told  it  as  such.  But  he  had  sufficient  knowledge  of  the 
English  point  of  view  to  be  aware  that  if  he  told  it  as  a 
personal  experience  he  would  focus  attention  on  him 
self  and  distract  it  from  the  moral  he  was  enforcing,  so 
he  characteristically  told  it  as  if  it  had  occurred  to  some 
other  person. 

' '  There  was  a  man  whom  God  had  called  in  the  moun 
tains.  At  first  the  people  did  not  want  to  receive  him. 
In  the  beginning  it  was  rather  difficult  for  him.  He 
was  tired  and  hungry  and  thirsty.  He  went  into  a  cave 
and  began  to  pray  and  was  tempted :  '  You  came  to  tell 
the  people  about  Jesus  Christ/  the  tempter  said,  'but 
where  is  Christ  now?  You  are  hungry  and  thirsty  and 
your  Savior  does  not  help  you.'  But  when  he  began  to 
pray  he  found  a  wonderful  Peace,  and  he  could  say, 
1  My  Savior  has  heard. '  He  could  not  get  food  or  bread, 
but  he  took  some  sweet  leaves,  and  it  was  as  though  he 
had  never  tasted  such  luscious  food  before.  The  pres 
ence  of  our  Savior  had  changed  them. 

''Afterwards  a  crowd  of  people  came  with  sticks  and 
stones  in  their  hands  to  attack  him.  He  closed  his  eyes 


NATURE  AND  THE  BIBLE  163 

and  said,  '  Thy  will  be  done.  I  commit  my  soul  into  Thy 
hands. '  But,  when  he  opened  his  eyes,  he  saw  that  they 
had  gone.  He  spent  the  whole  night  praying  and  in  the 
morning  eighty  or  ninety  people  came  in  a  crowd  to  see 
him,  but  not  with  sticks  or  stones  in  their  hands. 

'If  you  want  to  kill  me  here  I  am/  the  man  said. 
'Last  night  we  came  to  kill  you  and  stone  you,  but 
today  we  have  come  to  ask  one  question.  We  have 
seen  many  people  from  different  countries  and  know 
them  all,  but  last  night  we  saw  some  wonderful  people: 
to  which  country  do  they  belong?  You  were  not  alone 
last  night,  so  many  people  were  standing  around  you  in 
shining  robes,  who  were  they?' 

' Not  one  or  two  saw  this  vision,  but  the  whole  crowd. 
Those  men  in  the  shining  robes  belonged  to  heaven. 
They  are  sent  to  work  for  those  who  bear  witness  for 
Him  and  obey  Him.  But  those  who  live  a  life  of  prayer 
shall  see  much  more  wonderful  things  than  that.  They 
will  find  that  Peace  which  they  can  find  nowhere  else." 
The  Tamil  addresses  contain  this  story: 
"In  Tibet  there  was  a  man  who  sought  God,  but  not 
finding  Him  was  restless  and  unhappy.  Finally  he  be 
came  so  dejected  that  he  resolved  to  commit  suicide.  At 
that  time  a  stranger  came  to  him,  and  said,  'I  know  a 
man  a  hundred  miles  away,  living  outside  this  kingdom, 
who  can  help  you.'  The  man  gladly  agreed  to  see  him. 
After  several  days'  travel  they  both  reached  the  bank  of 
a  river.  'Stay  here/  said  the  stranger.  'Seven  miles 
away  is  the  village  where  the  man  of  whom  I  spoke  lives. 
I  will  go  and  bring  him  back  here.'  With  these  words 
he  crossed  over  to  the  other  side  of  the  river  and  went 
to  the  village  and  brought  back  with  him  that  Christian. 
The  Christian  and  the  other  man  talked  for  a  long  time, 


164  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

and  the  latter  believed  in  Christ  and  was  ready  to  be 
baptized.  He  looked  for  the  stranger  who  helped  him 
by  bringing  him  all  this  way,  but  could  not  find  him  any 
where.  He  thought  that  he  was  the  Christian's  friend, 
and  the  Christian  thought  that  he  was  the  friend  of  the 
man  from  Tibet.  Finally  they  decided  that  he  was  an 
angel.  And  the  man  was  baptized.  But  though  the 
angel  spent  several  days  with  him  he  did  not  preach  to 
him.  It  was  God's  will  that  this  part  of  the  task  should 
be  done  by  a  man,  the  Christian  who  lived  a  hundred 
miles  away." 

The  following  excerpt  from  a  letter  to  the  Nur 
Afshan,1  illustrating  as  it  does  both  the  Sadhu's  way  of 
life  and  the  atmosphere  in  which  he  moves,  will  appro 
priately  end  this  chapter: 

"A  few  weeks  ago  a  Christian  Sadhu  by  name  Sundar 
Singh  came  about  preaching  the  Gospel  in  the  villages 
round  about  Narkanda  and  suffered  a  great  deal  of  per 
secution.  We  were  sitting  and  chatting  .  .  .  when  a 
farmer  by  name  Nandi  came  up  and  said : 

"  'A  very  strange  thing  has  happened  in  our  village. 
One  day  while  we  were  reaping  the  corn  in  a  field  a 
Sadhu  came  up  to  us  and  began  to  preach  religion.  We 
all  felt  very  annoyed  at  this  interference  in  our  work 
and  showered  curses  on  him ;  but  little  heeding  our  curses 
and  threats  the  man  went  on  with  his  talk.  At  this  my 
brother  took  up  a  stone  and  hit  the  man  on  the  head. 
But  this  good  man,  unmindful  of  the  insult,  closed  his 
eyes  and  said,  "0  God,  forgive  them!"  After  a  while 
my  brother  who  had  flung  the  stone  was  suddenly  caught 
with  a  splitting  headache  and  had  to  give  up  reaping. 
At  this  the  Sadhu  took  my  brother's  scythe  and  started 
i  Quoted  by  A.  Zahir,  A  Lover  of  the  Cross,  p.  11. 


NATURE  AND  THE  BIBLE  165 

reaping  the  corn.  We  all  marveled  and  said,  "What 
manner  of  man  is  this  Sadhu,  that,  instead  of  abusing 
and  cursing  us  in  return,  he  prays  in  our  favor  ? ' '  Then 
we  took  him  to  our  house  where  he  told  us  many  nice 
things.  After  he  had  gone  we  noticed  an  amazing  thing. 
The  field  where  this  good  man  had  reaped  has  never 
yielded  so  much  corn  as  it  has  this  year;  we  have  gath 
ered  two  maunds  above  the  average  this  time.' 

"A  few  days  ago  I  met  a  European  lady  on  her  way 
to  Simla.  I  told  her  about  this  matter  and  she  advised 
me  to  send  an  account  of  this  marvelous  incident  to  the 
Nur  Afshan.  .  .  .  Hence  according  to  her  advice  I  send 
this  communication  to  the  Editor  .  .  .  and  request  the 
Sadhu ji  himself  to  visit  that  same  village  again,  so  that 
we  may  benefit  by  his  holy  preaching.  . 

(Signed)  JIYA  RAM." 


IX 

TABLE  TALK 

IN  form  and  matter  there  is  not  very  much  difference 
between  what  the  Sadhu  says  on  the  platform  and  when 
talking  to  one  or  two  individuals  in  private  or  to  the 
company  gathered  at  a  meal.  But  he  is  obviously  more 
at  home  discoursing  in  the  informal,  somewhat  rambling, 
style  of  the  Indian  Guru  amid  his  disciples  than  in  the 
set  sermon  or  platform  address  of  the  West.  Moreover 
in  small  gatherings  it  is  easier  to  appreciate  his  humor, 
his  kindliness,  his  spiritual  insight,  to  see  the  vivacity 
and  changing  expression  of  his  face,  and  to  feel  the  at 
mosphere  of  divine  peace  which  he  diffuses  round  him. 

In  this  chapter  we  collect,  under  a  convenient  title, 
specimens  of  his  discourse,  public  and  private— chosen, 
sometimes  for  their  penetrating  insight,  and  sometimes 
for  their  picturesque  simplicity. 

THE  PREACHER 

"I  don't  sit  down  and  write  out  my  sermons.  As  I 
pray,  I  get  texts,  subjects  and  illustrations.  Preachers 
ought  to  get  their  message  from  God.  If  they  get  it 
from  books  instead,  they  do  not  preach  their  own  gospel ; 
they  preach  the  gospel  of  others.  They  sit  on  other  peo 
ple's  eggs  and  hatch  them  and  think  they  are  their  own. 

Once  a  reporter  from  a  London  newspaper  asked  him 
on  what  subject  he  was  going  to  speak  at  a  certain  meet- 

166 


TABLE  TALK  167 

ing.  He  said  that  he  himself  did  not  know,  but  that  he 
would  speak  as  led  by  the  Lord.  He  always,  however, 
insists  on  a  prolonged  period  for  prayer  and  meditation 
before  giving  a  public  address :  and  he  starts  with  a  text 
and  a  few  leading  thoughts  carefully  chosen  in  view  of 
the  particular  occasion.  The  actual  development  of  the 
sermon  depends  a  great  deal  upon  the  nature  of  the 
audience.  "  There  is  something  or  other  in  me  which 
enables  me  to  recognize  instinctively  the  spiritual  need 
of  the  audience,  just  as  a  dog  instinctively  traces  out  a 
scent  more  effectively  than  a  learned  man." 

Apropos  of  his  method  of  preparing  sermons  we  re 
marked  :  ' '  What  about  minds  that  are  not  fertile  ?  If 
they  go  into  the  pulpit  as  you  do,  without  very  carefully 
working  out  their  sermons,  they  cannot  hold  the  atten 
tion  of  the  people."  Said  the  Sadhu:  "Only  men 
called  of  God  should  enter  His  service  as  preachers.  To 
these,  though  of  poor  intellect,  God  will  give  a  message." 

"There  was  once  a  sweeper  who  became  a  Christian. 
He  gave  his  heart  to  Christ.  He  found  that  Peace  in 
Him,  and  was  saved,  and  so  could  bear  witness  for  Him. 
People  would  say,  'There  is  something  in  him  that  we 
have  not  got. '  In  his  preaching  he  was  listened  to  with 
great  attention.  A  passer-by  asked,  'Why  are  they  lis 
tening  so  respectfully  to  a  sweeper?'  The  sweeper  said, 
'When  my  Savior  was  going  to  Jerusalem  riding  on  an 
ass,  the  people  brought  clothes  and  spread  them  under 
his  feet.  They  did  not  spread  their  clothes  under  the 
feet  of  Christ  but  under  the  feet  of  the  ass.  Why  do 
that  for  an  ass?  Because  the  King  of  Kings  was  riding 
on  that  ass.  When  the  Christ  got  down  from  that  ass, 
nobody  cared  about  it.  That  ass  was  honored  so  long 
as  the  King  of  Kings  was  riding  on  it.'  ' 


168  SADHU  SUNDAE  SINGH 

"Have  you  any  advice  to  give  about  the  training  of 
theological  students?"  "There  should  be  more  practi 
cal  work.  The  professors  themselves  should  go  about  the 
country  for  two  or  three  months  with  their  students  to 
preach  the  Gospel." 

LIFE  AND  HOPE 

"Life  and  life  abundant  are  not  the  same.  There  is 
a  great  difference  between  them.  What  is  the  use  of 
mere  life?  Let  me  give  you  an  illustration.  I  went  to 
a  hospital  and  saw  a  man  laid  up  with  illness.  He  was 
not  in  a  dangerous  condition  and  yet  I  heard  the  next 
day  that  he  had  died.  How  did  he  die?  That  night  a 
cobra  fell  on  his  bed  from  the  roof.  He  saw  it  coming 
from  near  his  feet  towards  where  his  head  lay,  and  was 
filled  with  fright.  But  he  had  not  the  strength  either  to 
leave  the  bed  or  to  kill  the  snake.  It  bit  him  on  the 
neck  and  he  died.  Then  another  man  came  and  killed 
the  snake.  The  man  who  died  had  life  and  yet  what  a 
difference!  Though  the  one  had  life,  he  could  not  pro 
tect  himself  from  danger,  while  the  other  protected  him 
self  and  killed  the  snake.  Many  Christians  also  have 
life,  but  they  are  unable  to  protect  themselves  from  the 
old  serpent.  They  cannot  overcome  temptation.  How 
can  they  save  others?  They  will  die  in  sin  because  the 
old  serpent  bites  them  and  the  poison  spreads  all  over 
the  body.  But  those  who  have  the  life  abundant  will 
kill  the  old  serpent,  and  besides  conquering  temptation 
themselves  will  help  others  to  do  the  same.  This  is  life 
abundant. ' ' 

"If  we  can  give  ourselves  to  Him  then  He  can  work 
through  us.  If  we  put  ourselves  in  His  hands  then  He 


TABLE  TALK  169 

can  use  us.  Through  those  who  are  men  of  prayer  He 
can  do  great  things." 

"The  servants  of  God  are  sometimes  disheartened. 
The  people  do  not  care,  they  do  not  listen.  Sometimes 
I  have  been  myself  disheartened.  But  I  have  learned 
that  our  part  is  to  preach  and  bear  witness.  If  we  do 
this,  then  the  Holy  Spirit  will  work  in  their  hearts.  But 
we  must  do  our  part." 

"Let  us  never  be  discouraged  by  our  weaknesses. 
The  Sun  has  many  spots.  On  that  account  does  it  cease 
to  give  light?  So  let  us  shine  with  the  light  which  He, 
the  True  Light,  gives  us.  He  will  remove  our  defects 
and  make  us  perfect.  Our  duty  is  to  shine.  The  fire-fly 
is  one  of  the  smallest  of  insects ;  yet  it  gladdens  the  heart 
of  the  traveler  with  its  tiny  light." 

SERVICE 

"There  was  a  rich  man  in  a  certain  place.  One  day 
his  son  was  sitting  in  his  father's  garden.  At  that  time 
many  birds  came  and  ate  up  the  fruits.  Cattle  trampled 
on  the  plants.  The  son  saw,  but  did  not  drive  them 
away.  'Is  it  right  for  you  to  see  your  father's  garden 
destroyed  in  this  way  and  keep  quiet?  Can  you  not 
drive  these  things  out?'  said  the  people  to  him.  'My 
father  has  not  asked  me  to  do  so,'  said  the  son.  'So 
that  is  not  my  work.'  Then  the  father,  hearing  of  what 
happened,  drove  his  son  out  of  the  house.  For  it  is  not 
a  special  voice,  but  the  needs  and  imperfections  of  those 
around  us  which  constitute  a  call  for  God's  service." 

"In  the  mountainous  regions  of  North  India,  where 
it  is  very  cold,  travelers  are  in  the  habit  of  keeping  warm 
in  this  way.  They  take  a  small  vessel,  put  burning  coal 


170  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

in  it  and  cover  it  up.  They  weave  strings  around  it  and 
wrapping  it  with  cloth,  carry  it  under  their  arms. 
Three  men  were  traveling  thus  towards  the  sacred  place 
known  as  Amarnath.  One  of  them  saw  several  others 
suffering  with  cold  and,  taking  the  fire  out  of  his  vessel, 
lit  a  fire  so  that  every  one  could  get  warm.  So  every 
one  left  the  place  alive.  When  they  had  all  to  walk  in 
the  dark,  the  second  man  of  the  party  took  out  the  fire 
in  his  vessel  and  lit  a  torch  with  it  and  helped  them  all 
to  walk  along  in  safety.  The  third  man  of  the  party 
mocked  them  and  said:  'You  are  fools.  You  have 
wasted  your  fire  for  the  sake  of  others. '  '  Show  us  your 
fire ! '  said  they  to  him.  When  he  broke  open  his  vessel 
there  was  no  fire,  but  only  ashes  and  coal.  With  his 
fire  one  had  given  warmth  to  others  and  another  had 
given  light.  But  the  third  man  was  selfish  and  kept  the 
fire  to  himself,  and  it  was  of  no  use  even  to  him. 

"In  the  same  way,  it  is  God's  will  that  the  fire  of  the 
Holy  Spirit  which  we  receive  should  give  warmth  and 
light  to  others  and  help  them  to  be  saved.  Many  people 
despise  those  who  spend  their  health,  strength  and 
money  for  the  salvation  of  others  and  call  them  mad. 
And  yet  it  is  they  who  will  save  many  and  who  will  be 
saved  themselves.  But  those  who  are  not  anxious  that 
others  should  share  in  the  salvation  they  have  received 
would  lose  their  own  salvation  and  find  their  way  to 
hell  on  the  last  day.  There  is  no  use  in  their  lamenting 
then.  So  we  should  try  to  save  others  even  now." 

"There  was  a  king  reigning  over  the  Kingdom  of 
Paras.  He  saw  that  his  subjects  were  very  lazy,  and 
was  troubled  in  his  mind  as  to  how  they  would  fight 
when  enemies  invaded  the  land.  Seeing  that  it  was  of  no 
use  to  give  them  advice,  he  rolled  a  big  stone  where 


TABLE  TALK  171 

four  roads  met.  Though  the  people  saw  this  they  did 
not  attempt  to  remove  the  stone,  but  walked  their  own 
way.  A  week  went  by.  Then  the  king  ordered  all  his 
subjects  to  come  together  at  that  place.  Then  he  lifted 
without  any  difficulty  the  stone,  which  was  light  as  it 
was  hollowed  out.  Under  it  was  a  bag  filled  with  golden 
ornaments  worth  a  lakh.  On  the  bag  were  the  words: 
'This  is  for  him  who  lifts  the  stone.'  The  king  showed 
them  this  and  said :  'You  lost  this  by  your  laziness.  If 
you  continue  in  this  way  you  will  lose  this  kingdom  when 
enemies  come. '  Every  one  who  was  there  was  sorry  for 
having  lost  the  opportunity  of  becoming  enormously  rich 
by  having  been  afraid  of  trouble  and  labor. 

"Christ  likewise  calls  us  to  bear  the  cross  and  to  en 
dure  suffering  and  sorrow  for  the  salvation  of  others. 
Many  go  away  unwilling  to  bear  the  cross,  as  they  like 
to  have  wealth,  health  and  influence.  They  think  that 
the  cross  is  heavy.  But  He  says:  'My  yoke  is  easy  and 
my  burden  is  light.'  When  we  carry  it,  we  shall  find 
that  it  is  light.  Moreover,  when  we  lift  the  cross,  we 
shall  see  below  it  throne  and  crown  and  glory.  Here  is 
the  cross,  but  there  is  glory.  So  we  must  be  prepared 
to  spend  our  health,  our  strength,  and,  if  need  be,  our 
lives,  for  the  salvation  of  our  countrymen." 

"There  was  a  devout  Christian  who  obeyed  God's  call 
and  worked  in  God's  vineyard.  The  people  beat  and  ill- 
treated  him  and  hung  him  on  a  tree  upside  down.  But 
he  said:  'I  am  not  surprised  that  you  hang  me  upside 
down.  The  world  is  upside  down,  and  so  the  deeds  of 
the  world  are  also  upside  down.  So  you  have  hung  me 
also  upside  down.  For  this  I  thank  you.  Magic  lan 
tern  slides  are  placed  upside  down,  and  then  they  are 
seen  right  side  up  on  the  screen.  If  they  are  right  side 


172  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

up  in  the  lantern  they  would  come  out  upside  down  on 
the  screen.  Here  you  have  tied  me  upside  down,  but  I 
shall  be  right  side  up  in  the  heavenly  home.  If  I  were 
right  side  up  here,  I  should  probably  be  upside  down 
there.'  " 

RELIGION 

"Are  not  all  religions  much  alike,  they  all  teach  good 
actions?"  "Yes,  but  there  is  a  great  difference. 
Other  religions  say:  Do  all  the  good  deeds  you  can, 
and  you  will  at  last  become  good.1  Christianity  says: 
Be  good,  and  then  you  can  do  good — it  will  come  nat 
urally  from  a  good  heart.  The  change  of  heart  must 
come  first/' 

"What,"  we  asked,  "do  you  think  of  the  Buddha  and 
his  message?"  "He  is  not  a  mystic,  but  only  a  moral 
teacher.  For  there  is  nothing  in  his  teaching  about  God. 
In  such  a  man  this  is  rather  surprising.  He  preached 
Nirvana  or  the  extinction  of  desire.  But  salvation  is 
not  the  extinction  of  desire.  It  is  the  satisfaction  of 
desire.  The  proper  way  to  deal  with  thirst  is  not  to  kill 
it — which  would  mean  death — but  to  satisfy  it. ' ' 

* '  Suppose  we  write  one  and  place  a  number  of  ciphers 
on  its  right  hand  side.  The  more  the  ciphers  the  larger 
is  the  figure.  But  any  number  of  ciphers  on  its  left-hand 
side  are  mere  ciphers.  Christ  stands  for  number  one. 
On  His  left  hand  is  the  world.  The  riches  which  those 
who  seek  the  world  acquire  are  mere  ciphers.  But  on 
His  right  hand  is  Heaven.  The  riches  acquired  by  those 
who  seek  this  are  limitless. ' ' 

"Sects  are  strange  unnecessary  things.  There  is  one 
God,  why  have  so  many  churches?  Why  cause  dissen- 
i  The  same  thought,  but  with  a  difference,  occurs  on  p.  49. 


TABLE  TALK  173 

sion  ?  But,  I  Suppose,  this  is  the  world.  When  all  sects 
are  one  it  will  be  the  world  no  longer.  It  will  be  Heaven 
then." 

"One  day  I  was  passing  through  a  street.  I  saw  all 
the  doors  locked  up.  There  was  nobody  to  be  seen.  At 
once  it  occurred  to  me  that  so  long  as  the  heart  is  locked 
up  against  the  Lord  who  made  the  heart,  it  is  necessary 
to  lock  up  all  the  doors  in  order  to  save  property.  But 
if  the  heart  is  opened  to  the  Lord,  then  there  will  be 
no  need  to  lock  up  the  doors  because  there  will  be  no 
thieves. ' ' 

PROVIDENCE 

"I  saw  a  young  man  and  asked  him  what  work  he 
was  doing  for  his  Savior.  'What  has  He  done  for  me 
that  I  must  do  something  for  Him?'  he  said.  'Has  He 
not  shed  His  blood,  given  His  Life  for  you?'  I  said. 
'Stay,'  said  he,  'was  that  only  for  me?  He  gave  His 
Life  for  all.  What  has  He  done  for  me  in  particular  that 
I  should  serve  Him?'  After  some  months  he  became 
seriously  ill  and  was  on  his  death-bed.  Then  he  was  in 
the  spirit  and  saw  a  vision.  His  room  was  covered  with 
'pictures  portraying  different  events  in  his  life.  In  one 
he  is  seen  falling  down  as  a  child  from  a  balcony  up 
stairs.  As  he  is  falling  down,  a  Man  receives  him  in 
His  arms  and  lets  him  down  gently ;  on  His  hands  are  the 
scars  of  nails.  In  another  picture  he  slips  from  a  rock 
and  thinks  he  would  certainly  die.  Then,  too,  a  Man 
rescued  him.  On  His  hands  he  sees  scars.  In  another 
picture  he  steps  on  a  snake  but  One  holds  the  snake  so 
that  it  does  not  bite  him.  On  His  hands  are  also  scars. 
Then  when  in  the  privacy  of  a  room  he  is  sinning,  He 
appears  before  him  and,  showing  him  His  wounds,  pleads 


174  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

with  him  not  to  sin.  As  he  saw  all  these  pictures,  He 
came  and  stood  near  him  and  said:  'Though  I  have 
done  all  this  for  you,  you  thought  that  I  had  not  done 
anything  for  you.  You  are  going  to  die  now.  If  you 
die  you  are  sure  to  enter  eternal  hell.  But  this  time  also 
I  shall  sa-ve  you  from  death.  Go  and  proclaim  to  every 
one  the  great  things  which  the  Lord  has  done  for  you.' 
So  when  he  got  well  he  became  a  servant  of  God.  When 
I  saw  him  again  he  told  me,  with  great  anguish :  '  In  my 
ignorance  I  thought  that  God  had  done  nothing  for  me. 
When  on  different  occasions  I  escaped  calamities  my 
parents  and  I  thought  that  they  were  due  either  to  good 
luck  or  chance.  But  now  I  know  that  it  is  the  Savior 
who  has  promised  to  be  with  us  to  the  end  of  the  world 
who  is  with  me  every  day  of  my  life  and  protects  me 
from  all  dangers.'  " 


THE  HEREAFTER 

"To  the  chick  in  the  shell  its  eyes  and  wings  are  suf 
ficient  evidence  of  a  world  beyond.  The  eye  is  for  sight, 
but  what  can  it  see  within  the  shell  ?  The  wings  are  for 
flight,  but  how  can  it  fly  within  the  shell?  It  is  there 
fore  clear  that  the  eyes  and  the  wings  are  not  for  the  lif* 
within  the  shell,  but  for  the  life  outside  the  shell.  In 
the  same  way  there  are  many  good  desires  and  ambitions 
which  cannot  be  fulfilled  here.  There  must  be  an  op 
portunity  for  their  fulfillment.  That  is  in  Eternity. 

* '  Certain  conditions  must  be  observed  if  WB  are  to  en 
joy  hereafter  the  bliss  of  Heaven  and  not  the  punish 
ment  of  Hell.  The  mother 's  warmth  is  necessary  for  the 
chicken  to  come  out  alive,  or  the  egg  would  become  rotten 
and  be  thrown  away.  As  it  is  necessary  for  the  chick  to 


TABLE  TALK  175 

receive  warmth,  even  while  in  the  shell,  it  is  necessary 
for  us  to  receive  the  warmth  of  the  Holy  Spirit  to  live 
even  while  on  this  earth.  Just  as  the  chick  comes  out, 
we  shall  also  leave  this  world  and,  entering  the  kingdom 
of  heaven,  enjoy  eternal  bliss. 

"Many  discuss  the  Hereafter  and  say  that  after  death 
we  shall  become  nothing,  and  that  it  is  idle  to  talk  about 
Heaven  and  Hell.  This  reminds  one  of  a  conversation 
said  to  have  taken  place  between  a  hen  and  her  un- 
hatched  chicken.  The  hen  spoke  to  a  chick,  and  said, 
'Little  one,  in  a  minute  or  two  you  will  leave  this  shell. 
Then  you  will  see  me,  your  mother.  You  will  also  see 
the  world  around  you  filled  with  beautiful  flowers  and 
trees.'  But  the  chick  obstinately  maintained  that  all 
that  talk  about  mother  and  the  world  was  a  lie.  But 
soon  the  shell  broke  and  the  chick  came  out.  It  saw  its 
mother  and  the  world  around,  and  knew  that  its  mother 's 
words  were  all  true.  So  those  who  say  that  there  is  no 
Heaven  or  Hell  will  find  out  the  truth  when  the  shell 
of  their  body  breaks  and  their  soul  comes  out. 

"When  you  go  to  a  strange  country  it  is  good  to  have 
a  friend  who  will  be  kind  to  you.  Become  friends  with 
Jesus  Christ ;  then  in  Heaven  you  will  have  a  friend. ' ' 


AN  INDIAN  CHRISTIANITY 
CHRISTIANITY  AND  NATIONAL  GENIUS 

IN  Europe  Christianity  has  become  differentiated  into 
three  main  types,  Latin,  Greek  and  Teutonic — the  last 
being  further  differentiated  into  many  sub-types.  These 
correspond  to  the  genius  and  temperament  of  the  peo 
ples  predominant  in  different  areas.  It  is  to  be  expected 
that  at  no  distant  date,  at  least  three  more  types  will 
emerge — an  Indian,  a  Chinese  and  a  Japanese.  But  in 
Europe  the  differentiation  of  racial  and  national  types 
of  Christianity — a  thing  in  itself  inevitable  and  up  to  a 
point  desirable — has  come  about  in  a  way  which  has  been 
wholly  disastrous.  This  no  doubt  has  been  mainly  due 
to  the  fact  that  religious  questions  have  been  complicated 
with  political;  but  the  result  has  been  that  what  was 
meant  to  be  the  religion  of  mankind  as  such,  a  bond  of 
unity  and  peace  transcending  all  divisions  of  race  and 
class  and  culture,  has  in  practice  tended  rather  to  en 
hance  the  bitterness  of  existing  feuds.  Energies,  which 
properly  applied  might  have  regenerated  the  world,  have 
been  dissipated  in  internecine  struggle.  Perhaps  the 
greatest  problem  before  the  rapidly  maturing  churches 
of  the  East  is  how  to  achieve  a  truly  national  expression 
of  Christianity  while  avoiding  mistakes,  which,  while  not 
exactly  the  same,  may  well  be  as  calamitous  as  those 
which  have  paralyzed  the  Christianity  of  Europe. 

176 


AN  INDIAN  CHRISTIANITY  177 

Baron  von  Hiigel,  at  his  interview  with  the  Sadhu,  was 
particularly  impressed  by  his  views  on  this  problem.  In 
the  memorandum  which  he  wrote  for  us  he  very  pene 
tratingly  sums  up  the  Sadhu ?s  attitude.  "The  Sadhu 
most  rightly  does  not,  by  a  specifically  Indian  Christi 
anity,  mean  a  Christianity  so  much  adapted  to  Indian 
thought  as  to  cease  to  be  a  living  Christianity.  Thus 
his  reaction,  e.g.,  against  Brahman  teaching  and  method, 
is  assuredly  not  chargeable  with  insufficiency.  Indeed 
the  Sadhu 's  entire  general  outlook,  in  all  its  positive  fea 
tures,  does  not,  in  its  grandly  non-pantheistic,  its  per- 
sonalist  and  historical  connections,  simply  echo  or  take 
over  en  bloc,  any  of  the  strains  actually  predominant  in 
Indian  philosophy  and  religion.  He  no  more,  because 
he  is  an  Indian,  takes  over  wholesale  the  extant,  directly 
manifest,  peculiarities  of  Indian  thought  than  did  St. 
Paul,  because  he  was  a  Jew,  take  over  wholesale  the  ex 
tant,  directly  manifest  peculiarities  of  Jewish  thought, 
or  than  St.  Augustine,  because  he  was  an  African  Ro 
man,  took  over  wholesale  the  extant,  readily  seizable, 
special  features  of  the  African  Roman  mind.  Yet  both 
St.  Paul  and  St.  Augustine  were  proud  of  being  respec 
tively  Jew  and  Roman,  and  were  anxious  to  remain  as 
Jewish  and  Roman  as  deep  Christianity  allowed.  So 
also  the  Sadhu  is  most  rightly  proud  of  being  an  Indian, 
and  is  anxious  to  remain  as  Indian  as  deep  Christianity 
allows." 

In  our  view,  this  exactly  expresses  the  Sadhu 's  po 
sition. 

"Once  when  I  was  traveling  in  Rajputana,"  said  the 
Sadhu,  "there  was  a  Brahman  of  high  caste  hurrying  to 
the  station.  Overcome  by  the  great  heat,  he  fell  down 
on  the  platform.  The  Anglo-Indian  station-master  was 


178  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

anxious  to  help  him.  He  brought  him  some  water  in  a 
white  cup,  but  he  would  not  take  the  water.  He  was  so 
thirsty,  but  he  said,  *  I  cannot  drink  that  water.  I  would 
prefer  to  die.'  'We  are  not  asking  you  to  eat  this  cup,' 
they  said  to  him.  '  I  will  not  break  my  caste, '  he  said,  '  I 
am  willing  to  die. '  But  when  water  was  brought  to  him 
in  his  own  brass  vessel,  he  drank  it  eagerly.  When  it 
was  brought  to  him  in  his  own  way  he  did  not  object. 
It  is  the  same  with  the  Water  of  Life.  Indians  do  need 
the  Water  of  Life,  but  not  in  the  European  cup. ' ' 

The  Sadhu's  own  method  of  teaching  is  characteristi 
cally  Indian.  A  sage  frequently,  a  popular  teacher  al 
ways,  speaks  in  pictures  and  argues  in  pictures.  Often 
he  also  thinks  in  pictures;  and  Sundar,  coming  as  he 
does  in  the  line  of  Indian  seers  and  poets,  follows  the 
same  method.  This  is  even  more  noticeable  in  his  ordi 
nary  talk  than  in  his  public  addresses.  The  illustra 
tions  he  uses  in  these  latter  might  conceivably  be  the 
result  of  careful  thought,  but  as  one  listens  to  him  in 
private,  one  perceives  that  it  is  in  and  by  vivid  pictures 
that  his  own  mind  works ;  and  often  remarks  thrown  off 
on  the  spur  of  the  moment  are  masterpieces  of  imagina 
tion  and  expression. 

This,  however,  it  might  be  said,  is  not  so  much  Indian 
as  Eastern;  yet,  among  Easterns,  who  but  an  Indian 
would  have  been  so  enraptured  by  St.  John 's  philosophy 
of  Logos,  Life  and  Love,  and  have  then  translated  it  into 
vivid  parable? 

Specifically  Indian,  too,  is  the  instinct  which  led  the 
Sadhu  in  search  of  saints  brooding  in  inaccessible  spots 
on  the  Himalayas  over  God  and  Eternity,  and  which 
determined  the  intense  interest  he  took  in  the  venerable 
Maharishi,  whom  he  found  on  Kail  ash — a  name  hal- 


AN  INDIAN  CHRISTIANITY  179 

lowed  in  Hindu  Literature  by  endless  sacred  associa 
tions.  Both  the  hermit,  who  seeks  the  absolute  solitude 
of  forest,  mountain-cave  or  desert  to  meditate  alone,  and 
the  monk,  to  whom  the  life  of  communion  with  the  Di 
vine  seems  easier  in  a  community  of  kindred  souls,  are 
to  be  found  in  East  and  West  alike.  But  while  corporate 
devotion — the  Catholic  Mass,  the  Evangelical  prayer- 
meeting,  the  Quaker  silence — is  characteristic  of  the 
West,  India  has  been  the  hermit's  classic  land.  It  is  the 
Indian  in  the  Sadhu  that  longs  to  live  the  life  of  such 
solitary  contemplation  did  not  the  love  of  Christ  con 
strain  him  to  choose  rather  work  for  the  salvation  of  his 
fellow-men. 

One  who  is  himself  so  completely  Indian  naturally  de 
sires  a  completely  Indian  Church. 

"What  will  the  future  church  of  India  be/'  he  was 
asked,  "Church  of  England,  Wesleyan,  Baptist,  or 
what?"  "There  will  be  only  an  Indian  Church,"  he 
replied,  "a  Church  constituted  according  to  Indian 
methods  and  ideals."  He  does  not  think  the  Indian 
Church  can  yet  stand  alone.  Missionaries  are  still  re 
quired  to  train  Indian  Christian  leaders;  but  these  must 
gradually  be  given  more  and  more  responsibility. 
"When  a  person  wants  to  learn  to  swim  he  must  first  of 
all  learn  how  he  should  swim  on  land.  But  he  must 
then  get  into  the  water,  first  into  the  shallow,  afterwards 
in  the  deep.  So  carefully  trained  Indian  leaders  must 
first  be  placed  in  places  of  moderate  responsibility  where 
they  can  learn,  then  by  and  by  they  will  be  able  to  make 
their  churches  strong  and  we  may  expect  great  things. 
In  some  places  they  have  already  begun  to  do  that." 

He  enforces  this  estimate  both  of  the  strength  and 
weakness  of  the  Indian  Church  by  a  parable,  probably 


180  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

suggested  by  the  popular  picture  of  ''Mother  India," 
painted  on  the  map  with  her  head  crowned  by  the  Hima 
layas  and  her  feet  upon  the  lotus  of  Ceylon. 

"We  can  compare  India  to  a  man.  The  Himalayas 
are  his  head,  South  India  is  his  feet,  Punjab  his  right 
hand  and  Bengal  his  left.  If  this  man  is  to  stand  firm 
he  has  to  stand  on  South  India,  his  feet.  South  India 
is  indeed  fit  for  this.  The  Christians  of  South  India  are 
very  advanced,  in  numbers  as  well  as  in  education.1 
But,  though  many  of  these  churches  are  self-supporting, 
and  though  this  man  can  stand  on  these  feet,  he  is  unable 
to  walk  now.  What  is  the  reason  ?  I  saw  a  Jew  in  the 
state  of  Cochin.  He  stood,  but  could  not  walk.  Why? 
Because  he  had  elephantiasis  which  made  his  legs  swollen 
and  heavy.  The  Indian  Church  is  unable  to  proclaim 
the  Gospel  all  over  India  and  to  save  the  whole  country 
because  of  the  elephantiasis  of  the  Indian  Church  of 
the  south.  Caste  distinction  is  its  main  weakness. 
Through  this  and  other  causes  there  is  lack  of  love,  and 
therefore  lack  of  anxiety  to  save  others.  If  this  disease 
is  healed  the  Church  of  South  India  will  be  used  as  an 
instrument,  and  guide  the  other  churches  of  India. " 

By  adopting  the  life  of  a  sadhu,  Sundar  is  deliber 
ately  attempting  to  Indianize  Christianity.  And  his  at 
tempt,  as  we  shall  indicate  later,  may  raise  issues  more 
fundamental  than  he  has  probably  foreseen.  But  in 
other  respects  the  Indianization  of  Christianity  he  has 
in  mind  is  mainly  a  matter  of  externals.  To  a  friend 

i  English  readers  may  be  reminded  that  there  are  churches  in 
Travancore  and  Cochin  which  claim  to  have  been  founded  by  the 
Apostle  Thomas,  and  which  in  any  case  probably  date  back  at 
least  as  early  as  the  second  century,  A.D. 


AN  INDIAN  CHRISTIANITY  181 

who  once  asked  him  how  Christianity  could  be  national 
ized  in  India,  he  replied:  "The  people  should  sit  down 
on  the  floor  in  church.  They  should  take  off  their  shoes 
instead  of  their  turbans.  Indian  music  should  be  sung. 
Long,  informal  addresses  should  take  the  place  of  ser 
mons."  So  far  as  fundamentals  are  concerned,  Christi 
anity  to  the  Sadhu  is  supra-national.  It  is  the  religion 
neither  of  the  East  nor  of  the  West,  but  of  Humanity. 

Just  as  Christ  said  of  the  Jewish  Law  and  Prophets, 
that  He  came  not  to  destroy  but  to  fulfill,  so,  as  the 
Sadhu  sees  it,  is  His  religion  related  to  the  nobler  ele 
ments  in  Hinduism. 

"  Christianity  is  the  fulfillment  of  Hinduism.  Hindu 
ism  has  been  digging  channels.  Christ  is  the  water  to 
flow  through  these  channels.  The  Bhagavad  Gita  is  very 
much  like  St.  John's  Gospel.  It  is  probable,  as  one  of 
my  friends  suggested,  that  a  Hindu  took  St.  John's 
thoughts  and  put  them  into  Hindu  form.1  The  Bhagavad 
Gita  was  composed  in  the  second  century  A.  D.,  and  at 
that  time  there  were  Christians  in  India.  Heat  from 
the  sun  is  stored  up  in  the  earth.  It  comes  out  when 
stone  comes  into  friction  with  stone.  Non-Christian 
thinkers  also  have  received  light  from  the  Sun  of  Right 
eousness.  The  Hindus  have  received  of  the  Holy  Spirit. 
There  are  many  beautiful  things  in  Hinduism,  but  the 
fullest  light  is  from  Christ.  Every  one  is  breathing  air. 
So  every  one,  Christian  as  well  as  non-Christian,  is 

i  Few  students  of  Indian  literature  would  agree  that  this  was 
probable.  But  even  if  not  true  of  the  historical,  the  remark  well 
illustrates  the  philosophical  and  religious  relationship  which 
the  Sadhu  conceives  to  exist  between  what  he  regards  as  the 
mountain-tops  of  Hindu  and  Christian  inspiration. 


182  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

breathing  the  Holy  Spirit,  though  they  do  not  call  it 
by  that  name.  The  Holy  Spirit  is  not  the  private  prop 
erty  of  some  special  people." 

Why  then,  it  will  be  asked,  does  the  Sadhu  so  often 
seem  to  go  out  of  his  way  to  assert  that  he  himself  gained 
but  little  from  the  study  of  the  Hindu  sacred  books, 
and  nothing  at  all  from  the  characteristically  Hindu 
religious  practice  of  Yoga? 

Converts  are  proverbially  inclined  to  be  the  severest 
critics  of  their  old  faith.  Naturally — a  man  does  not 
at  a  great  cost  to  himself  exchange  one  religion  for  an 
other  unless  he  feels  intensely  the  strong  points  of  the 
new  and  the  weak  points  of  the  old.  Some  Indian  con 
verts— Pandita  Ramabi  is  a  notable  instance — can  see 
nothing  in  Hinduism  but  a  " power  of  darkness."  *  But 
this  does  not  explain  the  Sadhu 's  attitude.  The  darker' 
side  of  Hinduism  he  never  alludes  to,  at  least  we  can 
quote  no  such  allusion.  He  rarely  if  ever  denounces 
the  grosser  abuses  of  the  popular  religion.  His  criti 
cisms  of  Hinduism  appear  to  be  mainly  directed,  not 
against  its  weak,  but  against  its  strong  points — its  phil 
osophic  Pantheism,  the  doctrine  of  Karma,  the  Path  of 
Knowledge  (Jnana-marga),2  the  practice  of  Yoga,  the 
Ascetic  ideal. 

The  real  answer  to  our  question  must  be  sought  else 
where.  The  Sadhu,  as  we  have  again  and  again  reiter 
ated,  is  a  mystic  whose  mysticism  centers  on  Christ,  he 
is  one  who  has  fallen  in  love — though  that  or  any  meta 
phor  is  far  too  feeble — with  Christ.  And,  compared 
with  the  light  of  the  knowledge  and  love  of  Christ  by 
which  he  himself  now  walks,  the  highest  illumination 

iCf.   International   Review   of   Missions,   April,    1920,   p.    223. 
2Cf.  p.   143. 


AN  INDIAN  CHRISTIANITY  183 

known  to  Hindu  Saints  seems  to  him  as  a  twilight  glim 
mer  to  the  noonday  sun.  What  they  possessed  no  doubt 
was  good.  But  now  a  far  better  thing  is  offered.  And 
to  choose  the  merely  good  when  one  may  have  the  best  is 
definitely  to  take  the  lower  path. 

PHILOSOPHIC  PANTHEISM 

Hinduism,  on  its  philosophical  side,  is  far  too  impos 
ing  a  structure  to  be  demolished  merely  by  telling  epi 
grams  and  happily  conceived  illustrations.  And  any  one 
who  goes  to  the  Sadhu's  utterances  for  a  reasoned  in 
tellectual  criticism  either  of  Pantheism  or  of  doctrines 
like  Karma  or  Jnana,  which  have  been  previously  touched 
on,  he  will  be  disappointed.  The  Sadhu  emphatically  is 
not  a  philosopher.  He  himself  would  be  the  first  to  dis 
claim  any  pretense  of  being  one.  His  mind  is  rather 
that  of  the  prophet — a  type  closer  akin  to  the  poet  than 
to  the  philosopher.  Just  as  the  artist  is  the  man  who 
can  see  beauty  where  others  miss  it  and  then  show  it  to 
the  world,  so  the  prophet  is  one  who  has  the  eye  for 
moral  and  religious  values  and  the  power  vividly  to  pre 
sent  them  to  mankind.  The  intuitive  perception  of 
value,  whether  esthetic  or  ethical,  is  different  from  the 
purely  intellectual  discernment  of  logical  cogency,  which 
is  a  mark  of  the  philosopher,  or  from  the  capacity  to 
apprefiend  the  laws  which  coordinate  the  results  of  ob 
servation,  which  characterizes  the  scientist.  The  Sadhu 's 
criticisms  of  Hinduism  are  of  importance,  not  as  intel 
lectual  arguments,  but  as  indications  of  just  how  and 
where  his  "prophetic"  temper  "senses"  a  deficiency  in 
the  matter  of  these  values. 

The  fundamental  assertion  of  Religion  is  that  Reality 


184  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

is  in  the  last  resort  good;  and  that,  therefore,  if  we 
search  long  enough,  we  shall  discover  that  the  best  is 
also  the  most  true.  But  untutored  man  is  no  better 
judge  of  what  is  best  than  of  what  is  most  beautiful; 
moral  insight  is  as  rare  as  good  taste.  It  is  the  special 
function  of  the  prophet  to  help  men  to  see  more  clearly 
what  really  is  the  best.  The  philosopher  is  required  to 
prove  that  it  is  also  true.  But  the  philosopher  can  do 
this  only  if  in  his  search  the  question  he  puts  first  is, 
not  what  is  best,  but  what  is  most  true.  Accordingly  it 
is  very  difficult  for  the  same  man  to  be  both  prophet 
and  philosopher.  The  Sadhu  conspicuously  is  not  both. 
But  surely  in  India,  the  land  of  philosophy,  it  will  not 
be  long  before  the  Christian  Church  can  produce  a  phil 
osopher  to  match  her  prophet. 

The  Sadhu 's  frequent  criticisms  of  Pantheism  are 
largely  a  reaction  against  his  Indian  environment.  It 
would  not  be  true  to  say  that  all  Hindus  are  Pantheists 
^-Ramanuja,  for  instance,  whose  philosophy  has  pro 
vided  an  intellectual  basis  for  Bhakti  *  worship,  is  the 
notable  exception.  Still,  in  India,  a  Pantheism  based 
mainly  on  the  Monism  of  the  great  Sankara,  is  the  dom 
inant  philosophy  of  religion.  The  Christian  mystics  of 
the  West,  where  popular  religion  has  tended  to  empha 
size  only  the  Divine  Transcendence,  are  usually  to  be 
found  insisting  on  the  aspect  of  Immanence.  In  an 
opposite  environment,  the  Sadhu  emphasizes  the  op- 

i  BhaJcti  means  "loving  devotion,"  that  being  the  attitude  to 
the  Divine  inculcated  by  the  poets  and  thinkers  who  founded  the 
religious  movement  so  named.  They  flourished  in  different  parts 
of  India  from  the  Middle  Ages  onward,  and  mainly  wrote  in  the 
languages  of  the  people.  One  of  the  beat  known  is  Kabir,  familiar 
to  English  readers  in  the  translation  of  Rabindranath  Tagore. 
Cf.  Art.  "Bhakti  Marga,"  in  Encyclopedia  of  Religion  and  Ethics. 


AN  INDIAN  CHRISTIANITY  185 

posite  aspect  of  the  truth.  But  that  element  in  Pan 
theism  which  constitutes  its  specifically  religious  value 
— its  insistence  on  the  closeness  and  intimacy  and  the 
inward  character  of  the  relationship  of  the  soul  to  the 
Divine — is  of  the  essence  of  his  message. 

"Muhammadan  and  Hindu  mystics  have  mistakenly 
sought  an  absorption  into  the  Great  Spirit  like  the  sink 
ing  of  the  river  in  the  ocean.  The  ideal  is  to  be  in,  but 
not  to  lose  yourself  in,  the  Great  Spirit."  Again: 
"Plindus  commonly  like  St.  John's  Gospel;  I  in  You 
and  You  in  Me  appeals  to  them.  But  they  are  apt  to 
be  confused  by  their  Pantheism.  Christ's  oneness  with 
the  Father  and  His  oneness  with  ourselves  is  different. 
Light  is  Sun,  and  Sun  is  Light.  Heat  is  Sun,  and  Sun 
is  Heat.  But  you  cannot  say  Heat  is  Light.  Christ  is 
the  Light  of  the  World.  The  Holy  Spirit  is  the  Heat 
of  the  World.  Christ  is  not  the  Holy  Spirit.  Pantheism 
which  blurs  a  distinction  between  me  and  God  loses  the 
main  point.  If  I  am  to  enjoy  God,  I  must  be  different 
from  God.  The  tongue  could  not  enjoy  sweetmeats  if 
there  were  no  difference  between  it  and  them. 

"If  we  are  God,"  he  once  said,  "there  is  no  need 
for  worship.  Pantheism  has  no  sense  of  sin,  and  so 
there  is  a  tendency  to  immoral  lives." 

Baron  von  Hiigel  remarked  to  him :  "  I  am  surprised 
that  you  are  so  free  from  Pantheism. ' ' 

"In  the  early  stages  of  my  Christian  career,"  said 
the  Sadhu,  "I  had  some  leanings  towards  Pantheism 
myself.  I  used  to  think  that  the  wonderful  peace  I 
had  was  probably  the  result  of  my  being  God  or  a  part 
of  God.1  But  two  arguments  have  removed  this  doubt, 

i  Thig  ie  held  to  be  literally  true  of  a  Hindu  sannyasi,  cf. 
p.  189. 


186  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

the  first,  that  while  practicing  Yoga  I  did  not  have  that 
peace;  the  second,  that  occasionally  I  feel  gloom  and 
depression  from  the  consciousness  of  God  abandoning 
me." 

YOGA  AND  BHAKTI 

The  mystic  tendency  in  India  may  be  said,  generally 
speaking,  to  have  followed  two  main  lines  of  develop 
ment — that  of  Yoga  and  that  of  Bhakti.  These  are  re 
garded  sometimes  as  supplementary,  sometimes  as  con 
trasted,  methods  to  be  followed  in  the  quest  for  the 
Divine.  There  are  many  ways  of  Yoga  and  there  are 
several  sects  of  Bhakti — and  these  differ  enormously  in 
moral  and  spiritual  value.  There  is  a  Yoga  which,  in 
principle,  is  not  far  removed  from  some  of  the  con 
templative  devotions  which  the  Catholic  cloister  has  de 
vised.  There  is  a  Yoga  which  is  a  mere  trick  of  self- 
induced  hypnosis,  a  trance-practice  profitless  and  ener 
vating  to  mind  and  heart  and  will.  There  are  Bhakti 
sects  which  can  justly  claim  a  place  among  the  higher 
religions  of  the  world.  There  are  others  which  counte 
nance,  some  which  even  aim  at,  a  religious  exaltation 
which  finds  symbols  of  mystic  union  in  rites  of  an  im 
moral  character. 

But  between  Yoga  and  Bhakti,  apart  from  these  es 
sential  differences  within  the  connotation  of  each  word, 
there  is  a  broad  and  general  distinction — a  distinction 
which,  if  for  the  sake  of  a  " bird's-eye  view"  we  are 
content  to  ignore  subtler  shades  and  differences,  we  may 
roughly  express  in  a  series  of  contrasts.  The  Yogin 
seeks  the  bliss  of  contact  with  the  Absolute  by  rigor 
and  self-discipline;  the  Bhakta  seeks  it  through  the 
beauty  of  song,  dance  and  hymn.  The  former  tries  to 


AN  INDIAN  CHRISTIANITY  187 

suppress  his  desires,  the  latter  to  express  them.  The 
watchword  of  the  former  is  "concentration,"  mainly  an 
intellectual  effort ;  the  watchword  of  the  latter  is  * '  devo 
tion,"  largely  an  emotional  "abandon."  To  the  Yogin 
Peace  is  the  goal  of  the  mystic  quest;  to  the  Bhakta, 
Joy.  The  former  tries  to  satisfy  man's  craving  for  the 
changeless  by  penetrating  ever  deeper  into  the  spiritual 
profound ;  the  latter  is  allured  by  exuberant  vitality,  ex 
pressed  symbolically  in  movement  and  rhythm.  The  for 
mer  is  individualistic,  preoccupied  with  solitary  medita 
tion;  the  latter  is  social,  deriving  joy  and  inspiration 
from  the  company  of  kindred  souls.  The  Yogin  neglects 
the  accompaniments  of  sacerdotal  worship,  and  loves  the 
seclusion  of  forest  or  cave;  the  Bhakta  makes  full  use  of 
temple,  idol,  hymn.  The  former  may  adore  Eternal 
Being  whether  personally  or  impersonally  conceived ;  the 
latter 's  rich  and  full  devotion  is  directed  towards  a 
Rama  or  a  Krishna,  who  represents  the  supreme  Divinity 
in  human  form. 

The  Sadhu  frequently  asserts  that  he  has  been  in 
fluenced  by  neither  the  Yoga  nor  the  Bhakti  schools  of 
thought,  nor  can  it  for  one  moment  be  maintained  that 
the  essential  elements  of  his  religion  have  been  derived 
from  outside  the  Christian  tradition.  An  English 
reader,  who  had  never  heard  of  Yoga  or  of  Bhakti,  would 
say  at  once  of  the  man  who  speaks  in  these  pages  that 
his  outlook  and  experience  have  demonstrably  been 
moulded  by  the  New  Testament — with  perhaps  here  and 
there  a  touch  of  influence  from  St.  Francis  of  Assisi  and 
St.  Thomas  a  Kempis— but  that  nothing  else  has  counted. 

And  yet,  and  yet  .  .  . 

Yoga,  or  at  least  one  of  the  ways  of  Yoga,  as  he  con 
stantly  himself  recalls,  he  tried  as  a  boy,  and  persevered 


188  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

in  trying — tried  it  and  found  it  wanting.  And  the 
Yogin's  passion  for  peace  was  the  form  in  which  he  first 
felt  that  thirst  of  the  soul  for  higher  things  which,  it 
would  seem,  in  all  men  is  a  prelude  to  the  divine  illumina 
tion.  Though  the  Yogin's  "peace"  through  "concen 
tration" — the  Sanskrit  Samadhi  is  translated  by  either 
of  those  two  words — is  quite  different  from  that  joyous 
Peace  of  God  of  which  the  Sadhu  speaks.  Again,  can 
we  entirely  disconnect  with  this  early  quest  and  practice 
the  part  played  in  his  religious  life  by  the  fact  of 
Ecstasy?  The  experience  of  Ecstasy  is  common  with 
Western  Mystics ;  but  in  the  frequency  of  its  occurrence, 
in  the  supreme  importance  he  attaches  to  it,  and,  it  must 
be  added,  in  the  entire  lack  of  that  misgiving  which 
made  many  of  the  Catholic  mystics  inquire  carefully 
about  each  vision  before  they  dare  be  sure  that  all  of 
them  were  of  God — the  mysticism  of  the  Sadhu  has 
points  of  contact  with  the  higher  Yogic  type.  There  is, 
however,  one  difference,  and  that  absolutely  fundamental, 
between  the  Sadhu 's  and  the  Yogic  mysticism,  namely, 
the  intensification  in  his  Ecstasy  of  the  Christ-control 
of  normal  life. 

There  is  no  evidence  that  the  Bhakti  poets  were  among 
the  Hindu  books  he  specially  studied  as  a  boy;  though 
in  the  Bhagavad  Gita,  which  he  knew  by  heart,  there  are 
elements  closely  akin  to  Bhakti.  It  is  noticeable  also 
that  he  never  uses  the  erotic  imagery  familiar  to 
Bhakti — found  too  in  many  Christian — mystics  to  ex 
press  the  soul's  intimacy  with  or  longing  for  the  Divine. 
Profounder  calm  rather  than  enhanced  excitement  ac 
companies  his  religious  experience  when  most  intense. 
In  his  advice  to  others  he  shows  awareness  of  the  dangers 
of  emotion  in  religion.  But  there  is  a  strain  in  him  of 


AN  INDIAN  CHRISTIANITY  189 

the  Bhakta's  longing,  though  rigorously  controlled. 
Once  when  the  conversation  turned  on  the  Bhakti  poets, 
and  how  they  often  say  that  in  hours  of  spiritual  exalta 
tion  their  hair  stands  on  end,  tears  flow  from  their  eyes, 
and  their  body  thrills  with  rapture:  "These,"  he  said, 
"are  only  outward  expression.  Eeality  is  beyond  them. 
Usually  my  joy  has  taken  an  exceedingly  quiet  form. 
Sometimes  it  has  shown  itself  in  a  different  way.  My 
hair  has  stood  on  end.  Tears  have  run  down  my  cheeks. 
But  my  body  has  never  shivered  with  ecstasy.  The  peace 
and  joy  which  I  experience  are  contagious.  Once  I 
found  others  in  my  company  shedding  tears  of  joy  as 
I  did." 

He  sought,  and  he  has  found,  the  Yogin's  Peace,  the 
Bhakta's  Joy  as  well — found  them  and  more  also,  and 
more  abundantly,  in  Christ.  Who  that  has  read  this 
book  so  far  can  fail  to  see  that  Christianity,  as  the  Sadhu 
feels  and  lives  it,  is  not  only  the  religion  of  the  New 
Testament  unadulterated  and  undefiled,  but  is  also,  in 
a  sense  no  Westerner  can  ever  apprehend,  the  consum 
mation  and  the  crown  of  Hinduism — the  Way,  which 
has  as  goal  the  synthesis  and  sublimation  of  both  the 
Yogin's  and  the  Bhakta's  quest? 

THE  SADHU  IDEAL* 

We  come  now  to  the  most  distinctively  Indian  element 
in  the  Sadhu 's  conception  and  presentation  of  Christi 
anity.  In  the  Middle  Ages,  especially  in  the  Franciscan 
movement,  something  similar  was  attempted  in  the  West. 
The  practice  and  ideals  of  St.  Francis  of  Assisi  are  in 
many  respects  identical  with  those  of  Sundar  Singh,  and 
i  Cf .  also  the  remarks  on  this  subject,  p.  1 1  /. 


190  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

possibly  even  may  have  not  been  without  some  influence 
upon  him.  Yet  the  incentive  to  carry  out  the  ideal  in 
this  twentieth  century  is  definitely  traceable  to  the  ad 
miration  instilled  into  him  by  his  mother  for  Hindu 
sadhus  whom  he  visited  in  her  company  as  a  boy,  and 
for  their  way  of  living.  "You  must  not,"  she  used  to 
say,  "be  careless  and  worldly  like  your  brothers.  You 
must  seek  peace  of  soul  and  love  religion,  and  some  day 
you  must  become  a  holy  sadhu."  "It  was  the  Holy 
Ghost,"  he  said  once,  "who  made  me  a  Christian,  but 
it  was  my  mother  who  made  me  a  sadhu." 

Unlike,  however,  the  typical  Hindu  sadhu,  Sundar 
Singh  is  definitely  not  an  ascetic  who  attempts  to  ac 
cumulate  merit  or  achieve  perfection  by  self-inflicted 
suffering.  He  prefers  to  describe  himself  as  a  "preach 
ing  friar."  Nor  does  he  say  that  the  world  and  every 
thing  connected  with  it  is  evil.  On  the  other  hand,  he 
often  gives  expression  to  the  conviction  that  because 
God  is  good  the  world  He  has  made  must  be  also  good. 

"I  tell  Hindu  sadhus:  'You  are  sadhus  because  you 
want  to  torture  yourself.  I  am  a  sadhu  to  serve.  I  do 
not  torture  myself,  though  I  have  been  tortured.  I  have 
not  renounced  the  world.  I  want  to  be  in  the  world 
and  yet  not  of  the  world/ 

"Once  I  passed  through  a  village  on  the  Himalayas 
and  saw  a  huge  pile  of  dirt  and  dung.  The  smell  that 
issued  from  it  was  so  bad  that  I  vomited.  After  some 
days  I  passed  the  same  place  again.  I  noticed  a  sweet 
smell  covering  up  the  bad  odor.  I  was  surprised  and 
I  wanted  to  find  out  what  had  caused  the  difference. 
Some  flowers  had  come  out  and  spread  fragrance  around. 
Heat  and  light  from  the  sun  had  given  beautiful  color 
and  sweet  smell  to  the  flowers.  The  place  was  filthy  but 


AN  INDIAN  CHRISTIANITY  191 

the  filth  itself  had  become  manure.  So  we  are  living  in 
the  dirt  and  filth  of  this  world.  But  if,  like  the  flowers, 
our  hearts  are  open  to  the  Sun  of  Righteousness,  then, 
just  like  flowers,  we  shall  receive  from  Him  spiritual  color 
and  fragrance,  and  the  things  of  this  world,  like  manure, 
will  help  us  in  our  spiritual  life. 

" Sitting  in  a  garden  I  have  thought  within  myself 
thus:  These  flowers,  fruits  and  so  on  have  been  created. 
They  are  not  for  God,  nor  for  the  angels,  not  for  Satan, 
nor  for  the  animals.  They  are  for  men.  Then  why 
should  we  renounce  them?" 

The  supreme  practical  test  of  the  meaning  of  these 
general  principles  will  appear  when  we  indicate  his  atti 
tude  towards  Money  and  towards  Marriage.  But.  in 
general,  Sundar's  motives  for  adopting  the  sadhu  life 
are  clear.  He  has  done  this  because  it  gives  him  com 
plete  freedom,  it  releases  him  from  the  distractions  of 
earthly  business,  it  enables  him  to  practice  the  virtues  so 
extolled  in  Indian  books,  of  regarding  in  the  same  spirit 
fortune  as  well  as  misfortune;  because,  principally,  it 
seems  to  him  the  best  way  to  commend  the  Gospel  to  the 
multitudes  of  India,  perhaps,  too — though  he  never  says 
this— because  that  life  more  than  any  other  makes  pos 
sible  the  literal  imitation  of  the  life  of  Jesus,  and,  finally, 
because  he  has  the  unanalyzable  but  imperative  convic 
tion  that  he  has  been  called  by  God  to  do  so. 

MONEY 

He  carries  no  money  with  him.     How  he  manages  in 
the  West  has  already  been  described.1     Once  indeed  on 
the  advice  of  friends  he  did  start  to  carry  money  but 
iCf.  p.  34. 


192  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

he  soon  gave  it  up.  "I  don't  like  to  put  my  trust  in 
my  pocket  but  in  God.  There  may  be  holes  in  pockets. 
There  are  also  pickpockets.  But  we  are  safe  if  we  trust 
in  Him.  We  find  in  Him  everything  we  desire.  If 
I  were  a  rich  man,  my  resources,  however  large,  would 
be  limited.  But,  as  God  is  my  loving  Father,  all  the 
world  is  mine." 

In  the  earlier  years  of  his  life  as  a  sadhu  he  often 
had  to  go  without  food,  if  no  one  invited  him  home  for 
a  meal,  since  he  had  no  money  with  which  to  buy  one. 
But  now  that  his  name  is  so  well  known  this  difficulty 
has  largely  disappeared.  Indeed,  sometimes  when  he 
has  to  go  from  one  place  to  another,  twenty-five  people 
struggle  to  buy  a  ticket  for  him. 

The  wisdom  of  this  practice  of  the  Sadhu  must  be 
judged  from  the  standpoint  of  Indian  traditions.  In 
the  West  it  would  not  be  possible  for  a  man,  however 
sincere,  to  live  on  alms  without  ultimately  losing  the 
respect  of  others,  and  probably  in  the  long-run  his  self- 
respect  as  well.  Even  if  the  experiment  did  succeed  in 
the  case  of  some  exceptional  individual,  it  would  break 
down  with  his  followers.  The  Franciscan  ideal  in  its 
original  form  had  ultimately  to  be  practically  abandoned, 
and  it  was  more  feasible  in  the  Middle  Ages  than  it 
would  be  now.  The  practice,  however,  of  St.  Paul,  who 
supported  himself  while  preaching  the  Gospel  by  what 
we  should  call  "half-time  work"  as  a  tentmaker,  is  pos 
sible  in  the  West  and  deserves,  one  might  even  say  de 
mands,  revival.  But  India  has  a  totally  different  tradi 
tion  in  these  matters,  and  what  would  be  a  mistake  in 
the  West  may  well  turn  out  to  be  an  inspiration  for 
India. 

Renouncing  money  for  himself,  the  Sadhu  strongly 


AN  INDIAN  CHRISTIANITY  193 

condemns  all,  especially  ministers  of  religion,  who  receive 
money  for  doing  work,  and  do  not  do  it  heart  and  soul. 
"We  ought  to  do  God's  work  with  the  love  which  His 
children  ought  to  have  towards  Him.  Let  us  do  it,  not 
because,  like  hirelings,  we  feel  we  are  going  to  be  paid 
for  our  work,  but,  in  the  spirit  of  love,  because  it  is  our 
Father's  work.  And  yet  how  many  servants  of  God  do 
their  work  perfunctorily,  even  though  they  receive  sal 
aries!  Others  there  are  who  simply  continue  to  receive 
their  salary  without  doing  any  work.  Their  end  is  de 
struction. 

' '  There  was  a  governor  in  Nepal.  He  sent  three  men 
to  work  in  his  garden.  One  was  to  receive  eight  annas ; 
another  twelve  annas;  but  the  third,  being  a  slave,  was 
to  receive  nothing.  The  governor  hid  himself  at  a  dis 
tance  and  watched  their  work.  The  man  who  was  to  re 
ceive  eight  annas  laid  himself  down  under  a  tree  and 
slept  without  doing  anything.  The  man  whose  wages 
were  twelve  annas  worked  hard.  The  slave  was  doing 
his  work  with  all  his  heart  as  if  it  were  his  own  work. 
In  the  evening  the  master  sent  for  the  servants  and 
began  paying  them.  The  servant  who  was  to  have  re 
ceived  eight  annas  came.  'You  were  lazy  and  slept 
under  a  tree/  said  the  master  to  him.  'So  on  that  same 
tree  I  shall  hang  you.'  And  he  hanged  him  on  that 
same  tree.  The  second  man  approached  with  fear.  The 
master  was  pleased  with  him  and  besides  the  twelve 
annas  appointed  gave  him  a  present.  Then  came  the 
slave.  'What  are  your  wages?'  asked  the  master. 
'Thou  art  the  lord  who  hast  purchased  me,'  said  the 
slave.  '  I  am  bound  to  serve  thee  all  my  life.  Thou  art 
my  father.  What  thou  givest  me  for  food  and  clothing 
is  ample  for  me.'  'Because  you  wrought  not  for  wages, 


194  SADHU  SUNDAE  SINGH 

but  for  the  love  you  bore  me/  answered  the  master,  de 
lighted  at  his  faithfulness,  'hereafter  you  shall  be  my 
son.  All  my  possessions  shall  become  yours.'  Not  hav 
ing  any  children  of  his  own,  he  adopted  the  slave  as  his 
son.  When  the  man  who  was  to  be  hung  saw  this  he 
was  moved  with  deep  sorrow,  saying  to  himself,  *  Alas ! 
If  I  had  worked  like  him,  I  might  also  have  had  the 
same  good  fortune/  We  also  are  sent  to  work  in  God's 
vineyard.  To  receive  salary  is  not  wrong;  but  to  be 
idle  though  we  receive  a  salary,  or  not  to  do  God's  work 
on  the  ground  that  we  shall  do  it  only  when  we  receive 
a  certain  salary,  is  wrong.  If,  like  that  slave,  we  work 
in  a  spirit  of  love,  feeling  it  is  our  Father's  work,  we 
shall  surely  become  heirs  of  his  heavenly  Kingdom." 

MARRIAGE 

One  evening,  when  walking  back  from  a  meeting,  he 
was  asked:     "Sadhuji,  will  you  ever  get  married?" 
"I  am  already  married,"  said  the  Sadhu. 
1 '  What !  already  married  ? ' ' 
"Yes,  I  am  already  married  to  Christ." 
"A  friend  once  asked  me  why  I  did  not  marry,"  he 
said  another  time.     "I  get  greater  happiness  from  the 
friendship  of  my  Lord."     He  seems  also  to  have  a  fear, 
grounded  on  St.  Paul's  words,  that  if  he  married  he 
might  seek  too  much  to  please  his  wife,  and  would  not 
devote  his  whole  energy  to  God. 

But  while  he  himself  does  not  think  of  marriage,  he 
does  not  advise  others  to  remain  unmarried.  A  mar 
ried  clergyman,  who  was  deeply  moved  by  his  addresses, 
inquired  of  him  anxiously  how  he,  being  a  married  man, 
could  serve  the  Lord  as  effectively  as  the  unmarried 


AN  INDIAN  CHRISTIANITY  195 

Sadhu;  the  Sadhu  assured  him  that  even  as  a  married 
man  he  could  be  a  faithful  minister  of  God.  The  ques 
tion  of  a  head  for  a  Kristikul — a  proposed  institution 
for  training,  young  men  to  be  Christian  Sadhus — came 
up  for  discussion  once.  He  thought  it  was  not  necessary 
for  that  man  to  be  celibate.  "Was  not  a  married  man 
at  the  head  of  a  Gurukul  for  several  years  ? " 1 

He  has  none  of  the  ascetic's  disposition  to  despise  or 
avoid  women.  He  emphasizes  the  love  that  women 
showed  to  Christ  on  earth,  and  how  they  used  to  tend 
Him ;  and  he  suggests  that  they  appreciated  the  Master 
more  than  men  did,  because  having  a  greater  capacity 
for  love  than  men,  they  had  really  more  in  common  with 
Him. 2  The  Sadhu  himself  moves  among  women  with 
unembarrassed  ease;  and  he  has  women  friends  with 
whom  he  keeps  in  close  touch  through  correspondence. 
Of  his  dead  mother  he  always  speaks  in  terms  of  the 
deepest  love  and  reverence,  and  perhaps  it  is  when  he 
sits  among  women,  chatting  informally,  that  the  depths 
of  tenderness  and  affection  in  his  nature  become  most 
apparent. 

A  Hindu  sannyasi  may  not  even  speak  to  a  woman; 
a  sadhu,  less  strict,  sometimes  will.  And  in  Hindu 
sacred  books  quite  often — as  indeed  not  infrequently  in 
the  writings  of  Christian  Fathers — woman  is  a  thing  of 
evil,  a  temptation  and  a  snare,  to  avoid  which  is  in  itself 
a  virtue.  Here  conspicuously  has  Sundar  succeeded  in 
Christianizing  the  Sadhu  ideal.  But  it  is  just  here  also 
— where  in  certain  ages  the  Christian  Church  of  the 
"West  has  partly  failed — that  the  sadhu  ideal,  if  it  be 

i  Ourukul  is  the  name  given  to  a  school — there  are  now,  we 
believe,  three  such — in  which  prospective  Gurus,  i.e.  teachers,  are 
educated  by  the  Arya  Samaj. 

2  Cf.  A.  Zahir,  Soul-Stirring  Addresses,  p.  45. 


196  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

interpreted  by  men  less  deeply  imbued  than  Sundar 
with  Christ's  own  views  of  women  and  of  marriage, 
might  easily  retard  the  healthy  development  of  the  In 
dian  Church. 

THE  CHRISTIAN  SADHU  AND  THE  FUTURE 

The  consequences  for  India  of  this  pioneer  attempt  to 
Christianize  the  sadhu  ideal  no  man  can  foretell.  Al 
ready  four  hundred  young  men  have  come  to  Sundar 
Singh,  passionate  to  follow  his  example.  Many  of  them 
he  thought  might  be  influenced  by  the  emotion  of  the 
moment  and  would  not  have  strength  to  persevere  in  so 
hard  a  life.  Better  not  to  attempt  it  than  to  begin  and 
lay  it  down.  He  has  told  them  to  watch  and  pray;  to 
make  sure  of,  and  then  to  follow  the  path,  whatever 
it  be,  to  which  they  are  bidden  by  the  Divine  call.  He 
has  been  asked  to  become  the  Head  of  a  School  to  train 
men  for  the.  sadhu  life.  He  declines.  Buildings  and 
organizations  smack  too  much  of  the  West.  If  he  does 
anything  of  the  sort  he  will  do  it  in  the  Indian  way. 
Religious  orders  and  institutions  rarely  keep  their  first 
spirit  after  the  founder's  death.  The  Indian  Guru  takes 
five  or  six  pupils  to  be  with  him  and  to  share  his  life. 
That,  thinks  the  Sadhu,  is  the  better  way — or  at  least 
the  only  way  he  would  care  to  try. 

Suppose,  then,  that  all  over  India  there  should  arise 
Christian  sadhus.  In  a  country  so  open  to  the  appeal 
of  religion  the  effect  might  be  stupendous.  .  .  . 

But  there  would  be  some  dangers. 

St.  Francis  could  acknowledge,  and  acknowledge  joy 
fully,  the  authority  of  Pope  and  Church,  in  discipline 
and  in  theology.  At  the  opposite  pole  of  Western  Chris- 


AN  INDIAN  CHRISTIANITY  197 

tianity  the  Quaker  mystic  is  subject,  at  least  in  conduct, 
to  a  very  real  discipline  administered  by  the  brother 
hood.  And  experience  suggests  that  for  the  individual 
himself,  however  much  inspired,  it  may  not  be  spiritually 
harmful  to  have  to  stop  and  think,  perhaps  even  for  a 
time  to  submit  to  some  restraint  of  speech  and  action, 
at  the  instance  of  the  leaders  of  his  Church — provided 
always  such  restriction  is  not  too  unintelligent  and  too 
rigid,  and  that  he  is  prepared,  after  due  hesitation,  to 
speak  or  act  and  take  the  consequences. 

But  a  sadhu  acknowledges  no  such  authority.  His 
one  standard  in  thought  or  in  practice  is  the  inner  light. 
In  the  West,  especially  in  Anglo-Saxon  countries,  most 
men  are  up  to  a  point,  even  though  they  do  not  recog 
nize  the  fact,  individualistic  in  religion.  But  let  any 
one  make  a  Gospel  of  his  private  views  and  he  is  at 
once  regarded  as  a  crank.  A  shrewd,  though  kindly, 
public  tolerates  its  cranks,  it  may  even  be  a  little  proud 
of  them ;  but,  before  it  accepts  any  man  as  prophet,  he 
must  have  approved  himself  by  lapse  of  time  and  by  a 
variety  of  unwritten  subtle  tests,  which  few  can  pass 
who  are  not  really  prophets.  But  what  may  happen  in 
a  country  where  any  one — given  that  he  has  a  mystic 
or  ascetic  turn  of  mind,  which  in  India  are  fairly  com 
mon — may  don  a  sadhu 's  robe,  and  with  it  at  least  some 
thing  of  a  sadhu 's  prestige? 

In  the  first  and  second  centuries  A.D.  the  wandering 
"prophet,"  whether  mystic,  preacher,  theosophist  or 
ascetic,  proved  to  be  a  useful  ferment,  a  valuable  stim 
ulus  to  experiment  and  thought,  but  also  a  source  of 
danger  and  distraction  to  the  Church.  Any  one  who 
has  studied  the  intellectual,  religious  and  social  back 
ground  of  the  Early  Church  as  recovered  by  recent  re- 


198  SADHU  SUNDAB  SINGH 

search,  and  then  visits  India,  wakes  up  to  find  that,  so 
far  as  the  religious  situation  is  concerned,  the  centuries 
have  vanished  and  he  is  again — with  differences,  of 
course,  history  never  quite  repeats  itself — in  the  Graeco- 
Roman  Empire  of  the  second  century.1  Many  of  the 
problems  which  perplexed  the  Early  Church  are  likely  to 
recur  in  India  in  only  slightly  different  form.  But  with 
the  experience  of  twenty  centuries,  the  spread  of  educa 
tion,  the  advance  of  science,  and — where  the  value  of 
visions  or  fancied  revelations  is  the  question — the  advent 
of  Psychology  to  light  their  path,  the  Church  authorities 
of  the  present  day  should  be  able  to  solve  them — always 
more  easily,  sometimes,  perhaps,  more  wisely. 

Among  the  Christian  sadhus  of  the  future  there  may 
arise  Apostles,  Prophets,  Evangelists,  but  also,  it  may 
be,  Anarchists,  Antinomians,  Heresiarchs.  Some  may 
be  inclined  in  the  one  direction  or  the  other  by  the  atti 
tude  which  Church  authorities  adopt  towards  them  in 
dividually.  Truth  and  right  are  one,  error  and  unright 
are  manifold,  and  where  there  is  sympathy  and  a  wise 
liberty — or  better,  where  a  liberty  going  beyond  what 
most  would  consider  wise  is  allowed — errors  and  ex 
travagances  tend  to  cancel  one  another. 

A  survey  of  the  history  of  religion  reveals  the  rule 
that  progress  has  resulted  wherever  there  has  been  suc 
cessful  cooperation  between  the  men  who  are  organizers 
of  corporate  worship  and  teachers  of  the  achievement  of 
the  past  in  doctrine  and  in  ethics,  and  the  men  who  have 
the  new  vision,  who  embody  the  freedom  of  the  Spirit — 
whether  these  two  types  be  called  priest  and  prophet, 

i  This  experience  occurred  to  myself  in  1913,  and,  a  little 
later,  quite  independently,  to  my  friend,  Mr.  T.  R.  Glover,  of 
Cambridge.  See  his  book,  The  Jesus  of  History,  ch.  ix.— B.  H.  S. 


AN  INDIAN  CHRISTIANITY  199 

scribe  and  apocalyptist,  theologian  and  mystic,  or  min 
ister  and  free-lance.  But  where  such  cooperation  has 
broken  down,  the  result  has  always  been  stagnation, 
disaster  and  decline. 

But  another  problem  more  specifically  Indian  may 
arise.  A  Hindu  sadhu,  it  has  been  already  said,  is 
credited  with  magic  powers.  Sundar  is  alert  to  discour 
age  that  belief.  Will  every  Christian  sadhu  in  the  fu 
ture  be  so  careful?  More  than  that,  there  is  the  Indian 
doctrine,  ''Worship  your  Guru  as  God."  Hindu  phil 
osophy  teaches  that  man  is  identical  with  the  great  Spirit, 
and  the  Sannyasi  who  by  "concentration"  and  asceti 
cism  realizes  this  can  say,  "I  am  God,"  and  as  such  re 
ceives  worship — not  other  than  the  worship  which  is 
offered  to  a  Hindu  divinity.  Sundar  disclaims  the  salu 
tation  Swami  (Lord).  In  a  land  where  philosophy,  tra 
dition  and  popular  acclamation  conspire  to  offer  such  a 
bait  to  human  vanity,  will  all  withstand? 

Probably  some  will  succumb.  But  surely  the  major 
ity  will  not.  The  Sannyasi  ideal  is  not  easy  of  attain 
ment;  and  to  have  done  so  much  as  that  and  then  to 
be  able  to  say,  with  St.  Paul,  "I  count  not  myself  to 
have  apprehended,"  is  a  far  more  difficult  thing.  Yet 
Sundar  Singh  has  shown  that  it  is  an  achievement  by  no 
means  impossible  to  the  Indian  temperament  when  in 
spired  by  the  Spirit  of  Christ. 

It  is  the  genius  of  Christianity  not  to  crush  out  natural 
aptitudes,  whether  in  nations  or  in  men,  but  to  inspire 
each  to  higher  achievement  along  the  line  of  his  own 
individual  gifts.  The  sadhu  ideal  is  associated  with 
much  that  is  greatest  in  Indian  religion,  both  in  the 
realm  of  speculative  thought  and  in  that  of  practical 
devotion — witness  the  names  of  Sankara,  Ramanuja,  or 


200  SADHU  SUNDAR  SINGH 

the  Buddha  himself.  The  Christian  sadliu  movement 
has  for  India  the  immense  promise  that  it  is  truly  In 
dian.  As  interpretated  by  Sundar  Singh,  it  is  no  less 
truly  Christian. 

There  may  be,  there  will  be,  times  of  danger  and  of 
conflict.  But  dangers  foreseen  and  fairly  faced  can  be 
overcome;  if  the  true  Spirit  of  Christ  and  the  spirit  of 
prayer  be  there,  they  will  be  overcome.  If  the  regular 
ministers  of  the  Church  of  India  display  always  the 
gift  of  sympathy  and  "discerning  of  spirits"  shown  by 
Bishop  Lefroy  in  his  dealings  with  Sundar  Singh;  if 
Sundar  Singh  proves  to  be  the  first  of  a  line  of  sadhus 
with  even  a  half -measure  of  his  humility  and  devotion, 
and  his  insight  into  the  mind  of  Christ— it  will  be  well 
with  India. 


TABLE  OP  PAEABLES  AND  ANALOGIES 


The  Mirage 41 

The  Water  Skin 45 

The  Disguised  Sheep  owner     46 

The  Vizier's  Doll 47 

The  Wounded  Son 48 

Qualities  transferred 49 

The  Gambler's  Mother....     50 

The  Dacoit's   Brother 50 

The   Tunneled   Mountain..     51 

Medicine  for  the  Eye 54 

The       Beggar       and       the 

Treasure   59 

The  Red  Indian  Boy C5 

The  Poisonous  Flower*.  ...     71 

The   Burning   House 72 

The  Race  in  Chains 73 

The    Boy    and    the    Fruit- 
tree    73 

The     Treasure     and      the 

Hidden  Spring   75 

The  Slice  of  Bread 75 

Clouds  from  Sea  Water...     77 

The  Breathing  Fish 77 

Messages  to  Mars 77 

Above  the  Storm 79 

Pocket  Prayers  82 

The  Violin  of  Prayer 84 

The  Salt  Dissolved 85 

The  Loving   Slap 127 

The  Bird  and  the  Hawk. . .  127 
The  Bather  and  the  Wave  127 
The  Cow  and  her  Calf. .  .  128 


The  Rajah  and  the  Coolie.    129 
The  Bird  and  the  Snake..    129 

The  Cobweb 130 

The  Consumptive  of  Sikkim  131 

The  Weight   of   Water 131 

The    Glowing    Coal 131 

Parables  of  Atrophy 132 

The  Morass 133 

The  Poisonous  Tank 133 

The  Wasted  Diamonds 134 

The  Lazy   Debtor 135 

Satan  and  the  Dying  Saint  135 

The  Three  Crosses 136 

The  Forgiving   Rajah 137 

The  Cobra's  Skin 138 

The  Hunter's    Lodge 139 

Frostbite 139 

The  Shadow 139 

The  Tangled  String 145 

The  Boy  and  the  Onion...  146 
The  Analyst  and  the  Milk.  146 

The  Bridge  of  Water 147 

The  Torn    Gospel 155 

The  Unknown  Stranger...  163 
The  Sweeper  and  the  Ass.  167 
The  Patient  and  the  Snake.  168 

Sun  Spots 169 

The   Firefly 169 

The    Undutiful    Son 169 

The  Traveler's  Fire  Box..    169 

The  King's  Ruse ~170 

The  Inverted  Lanternslide  171 


201 


202  SADHU 

Ciphers  172  The  Water  and  the  Cup. .  178 

Locked  Doors 173      The  Feet  of  India 180 

The  Unseen  Providence...    173      Filth  and  Flowers 190 

The  Unhatched  Chick 174  Three  Laborers  of  Nepal..  193 


INDEX 


Abelard,  50 

Abraham,  103  f.,  128 

Absolution,   130 

Adventures,  Notable,  18,  20,  25, 
60,  69,  114,  129,  155,  162, 
163,  164 

Alexander  the  Great,  53 

Al-Ghazxali,  16  , 

America,  xii,  4,  34,  39 

Annihilation,  101 

Angels,  25,  38,  44,  88,  93,  110, 
153,  161,  164,  191 

Apocalyptic 

and  Apocalypse  of  Peter,  88 

and  Psychology,  89,  198 

and  St.  John,  89,  95,  96,  154 

and  The  Maharishi,  28 

and  The  Sadhu,  Ch.  V. 

passim.. 

See  also  198  f. 

as  medium  of  Truth,  90  f. 

Jewish,  88  f. 

See  also  Visions  and  Ecstasy 

Apostles,   The,    157,    161 

Apostles'  Creed,  93,  117 

Archbishop  of  Canterbury,  5,  17 

Arya  Samaj,  20,  195 

Asceticism,    11,   15,  24,   29,   62, 


Bhagavad  Gita,  5,   181,  188 
Bhakti,  xi,  143,  184,  ff.,  186 
Bharatri  Harish  Chandra,  72 
Bible,  The,  6,  16,  35,  43,  53,  60, 
90,    103,   Ch.   V11I.   passim 
and  Conversion,  8"  if.,   159 
and  Miracles,   160  ff. 
and       Nature,       Ch.       VIII, 

passim 

Devotional  use  of,  79 
See     also     New     Testament, 

Daniel,       etc. 
Bible  in    the  World,  The,  xiv, 

10  n.,  159  n. 
Bigotry,  148 
Boehme,  Jacob,  16 
Booth,   General,    117 
Brahmanism,  143  f.,  177 
Brain  and  Spirit,  22,   107 
Buddha,  156,  172,  200 
Buddhism,   15,  25  n.,   132,   156 
Business  and   Religion,  73,  78, 
81 

Cad  bury 's  Works,  35 
Caesar,   53   n. 
Calvary,  136 
Caste,  148  n.,  171,  180 


67,  182,  190,  195,  197,   199       Celibacy,  24  ff.  195 


Atonement,  48  ff. 
Augustine    (St.),   68,   157,    177 
Authority    of    the    Church,    18, 
102.  117  ff.,  161,  196 


Baptism,  10,  32  f. 
Beginners,  advice  to,  83  ff. 
Bhagats,  31 


203 


Charles,  R.  H.,  88 

Cherubim,  97 

Christ 

and  Buddha,  156 

and  Women,  195 

as  Image  of  God,  97 

as  Light  of  the  World,  185 

as  Mystic,  52 


204 


INDEX 


Body  of,  64,  99 

Death  of,  49,  62 

Divinity  of,  53 

in  Glory,  92,  112 

Visions  of,  7,  21,  44,  92,  97 

Union  with,  15,  49,  53  ff.,  73 
ff.,  79,  113,  141 

See  also   112,   113,   179,   182, 

199  and  passim 
Church 

as  Body  of  Christ,  54 

Authority    of,    18,    102,    117 
ff.,  196 

Early,  The,  161,  198 

History,  157 

Xew   Eastern,    176 

Sectarianism  in,  173 
Church  of  England,  10,  179 

"  High  "  and  "  Low,"  18,  82 

The   Sadhu   and,    10,    17,   82 
Clergy,  Marriage  of,  195  f. 

Payment  of,  193  ff. 

Training  of,  4,   15,  149,  168 
Cobra,    138,   168 
Communion  of  Saints,  93,   111 
Concentration,  81,  83,  111,  114 

187,   188,   199 
Conscience,  100,  132 
Contrition,   131 

Conversion,  3,  6  ff.,  58,  66,  81, 
135,   143,   156,   172 

and   forgiveness,   125 

and  the  Bible,  6,  8,  155 

Psychology  of,  9  f. 

St.  Paul's,  8,  148 
Cross,    Philosophy    of,    16     28 

42,  60  ff.,   126,   129,   171 
Crucifix,  Use  of,  81 

Daffodils,  illustration  from,  148 
Daniel,  Bk.  of,  88 
Death,  5  n.,  128,  138 
Desire,  Extinction  of,  172 

Expression  of,  187 
Devotions,  ff.  79 
Discouragement,  169 


Divinity  of  Man,  55,  95  f.,  97, 

185,  199 
Dreams,  110,  121  f. 

Ecstasy,  Ch.  V.  passim,  8,  24, 
28,  30,  38,  40,  44,  60,  81, 
161,  188 

Eiffel  Tower,  36 

Elijah,  99 

Emmet,  C.  W.,  114 

England,  The  Sadhu  in,  33,  39 

Enoch,  99 

Eschatology,  88  ff.,  91,  102 

Esoteric  Teachings,  86,  ff.,  102, 
137 

Eternal  Life,  55,  89,  155 

Eternity,    17,    84,    174,    178 

Europe,  Christianity  in,  176 

Evesham,  Monk  of.  108 

Evil  Spirits,  118 

Ezekiel,  Bk.  of,  97,   154 

Faith,  Justification  by,  142,  149 
Fast,    The,    21    ff.,    24.   28,    30, 

58,  66,  109 
Father,  The  Sadhu's,  9,  32,  34, 

44 

Food  Restrictions,  36 
Foreign  Field,  The,  xiv,  41 
Forgiveness,  125,  131,  137,  147 
Francis,  St.,  vii,  12  ff.,  16,  40, 

41,   62,   99,    150,    187,    189, 

192,  196 
Free  Will,  161 

Freudian  Psychology,  114  n. 
Frostbite,  139 
Future  Life,  73,  89,  90,  91  ff., 

98  ff.,  100  ff.,  103,  105,  115, 

120,  128,  138,  174  ff. 

Glover,  T.  R.,  1981 

God,  Idea  of,  44,  89,  97,   137, 

142.  150 

Graeco-Roman  Empire,  198 
Granth,  The,  5 
Guru,  166,  195,  n.,  199 


INDEX 


205 


Gurukuls,  195 
Guyon,  Madame,  16 

Heart  and  Head,  16,  43,  141  ff., 
144  ff.,  149 

Heaven,  Ch.  V.  passim,  10,  29, 
30,  36,  38,  42,  44,  53,  56, 
62,  70,  80,  124,  128 
Language  of,  93  f.,  108,  110, 
118,  158 

Hell,  5,  42,  52,  88,  90,   100  ff., 
108,  110,  124,  136,  170,  ff., 
174 
The  Bible,  and,  90  n. 

Hermits,  38,  40,  179 

Higher  Criticism,  viii,  52,  156  f. 

Himalayas,  12,  24,  27,  55,  76, 
114,  132,  137,  179,  180,  190 

Hindu  Religion.  See  under 
Arya  Samaj,  Asceticism, 
Bhakti,  Guru,  Karma,  Phil 
osophy,  Sacred  Books,  Sad- 
hu,  Sannyasi,  Supreme 
Spirit  Swami,  Transmi 
gration,  Yoga,  also  pp.  4, 
5,  11,  31,  32,  70,  152,  161, 
170,  and  Ch.  X.  passim 

Holy  Communion,  82 

Holy  Spirit,  14,  54,  80,  104, 
107,  132,  152,  158,  169, 
175,  181,  185,  190 

Home,  4,  10,  24,  57 
Heaven  as,  95,  101 

Hope,  168  ff. 

Hornets,  105 

Hypnotism,  8,  58,  107,  186 

Idols,  in  worship,  20,  45  f.,  187 
Ignatius  Loyola  (St.),  84 
Imitation  of  Christ,   16,  29  n., 

62,  69,  99,  187 

Immanence,  104,  142,  151,  153 
Immortality   (ed.  B.  H.  Street- 

er),  90 
India,  66,  112 

Church  of  South,  180  f. 


Home  Rule  for,   78 

Picture   of   "Mother,"    180 

Religious  Need  of,  52 

Christianity  in,  Ch.  X.  passim 
Individualism,  197 
Influenza,  spiritual,   157 
Inner  Lights,  Guidance  of,  197 
Inspiration    of    Biblical    Writ 
ers,  114,  151,  158  f. 

of  Hindu  Sages,  182 
Intellect,  The,  60,  144 
Intellectualism,  16,  42,   141  ff., 

143  tf.,  149 
Intercession,  76  f. 
Intermediate  State,  The,  91,  99, 
107 

James,  William,  57 

Japan,  4,  33,  176 

Jewish   Religion,   89,    142,    150, 

181 

Jnana-Marga,    142,    144,   182   f. 
Job,  Book  of,   126 
John   (St.),  43,  83,  89,  96,  125, 

154  f.,   181 

John    (St.)   of  the  Cross,  16 
Jowett,  Dr.  J.  H.,  18 
Judas  Iscariot,    124 
Judgment,  52,  88,  89,  90,   124, 

137  ff. 

Immediate,    102    ff. 
The  Last,  99  ff. 
Juliana  of  Norwich,  vii,  40  n., 

102 

Kabir,  184  n. 
Kandy  Addresses,  xiv,  6 
Karma,  99,  124  ff.,  129  f.,  182  f. 
Kingdom  of  Heaven,   100  n. 
Knowledge,    Salvation    by,    142 

ff.,   144  f.,  182 
Krishna,    187 
Kristikul,  195 

Lahore  Divinity   College,    15 
Lamas,   15,  25,  26,  27,  58,   150 


206 


INDEX 


Lazarus,  128 
Lefroy,  Bishop,  17,  200 
Lepers,  13,  107,  147 
Life,  103  f.,  142  ff.,   168 

Eternal,  155 

Participation    in   Divine,  49, 

52  f.,  62,  179,  185 
London,  xii,  41,   116,  161 

Bishop  of,  18,   162 
Lord's  Prayer,  The,  82 
Lot,   103 
Lot's  Wife,  85 
Louvre,  The,  63 
Luther,  68,  149 

Magical  Powers,  11,  32,  199 

Maharishi  of  Kailash,  28,  178 

Mahatma,  11 

Marriage,  24  ff.,   194 

Mars,  Messages  to,  77 

Martyrdom  15,  58  f.,  63  f. 

Mary   Magdalene,    118 

Mass,  The,  82,  179 

Materialism,  Western,  39  f. 

Meditation,  11,  43,  69,  79,  83, 
117,  120,  122,  130,  139, 
151,  153,  167,  179,  187 

Ministry.     See  Clergy 

Miracles,  25  f.,  26,  33,  61,  160 
ff.,  164 

Missions,    14,   39,   42,    149,    179 

Money,  191  ff.  See  also  Pov 
erty 

Moravians,   The,    14 

Moses,   82,   94,   99 

Mother,  The  Sadhu's,  4,  128, 
190,  195 

Muhammad,  53,  122 

Muhammadanism,    5,    185 

Muller,  F.  Max,   123 

Music,   16,   92,   94,   181 

Mystics 

Catholic,    117,    188 
Hindu,   156,   185,   186 
Mediaeval    Western,    68,    81, 
86,  110,  116,  117,  120,  188, 
189 


Definition  of,  67 
Sufi,  16 

Also  vii,  14,  30,  112,  145, 

157,  197,  199 
Mysticism 

and  Auditions,  118 
and  Christ,  52 
and  Ecstasy,  104  ff.,  119  ff., 

122,  188 
and   Ineffability,  42,   57,   67, 

94,  104,  110,  158 
and    Peace,     See    Peace    and 

Ch.  III.  passim 
and  Plain  Man,  67  ff.,  96 
and   Suffering,   12,  28,   30 
and    Visions,    113,    117,    120 
Christocentric,  40  ff.,  62,  92, 

112,    141,    182,    188 

Dark  Night  of  the  Soul,  24, 

64  ff.,  186 

Illuminative  State,  24 
Incapacity  for,  68 
Indian,  112,  153,  185,  186 
Nature,  150,  153 
Pauline  and  Johannine,  25 
Uniqueness  of  Sadhu,  112 
Unitive  State,  9,  24,  60,  113 

Napoleon,  53 

Nature,  16,  77,  150  ff.,  161  f. 

Neo-Platonism,  40  n. 

Newspapers,  78 

New  Testament,  viii,  10,  21,  43, 

61,  83,  115,  149,  154,  155 
Nirvana,   172 
Nur  A  f  shan,   The,  20,   164 

Orders,  Religious,   13  f.,   196 
Oxford,  xi  f.,  25,  28,  38,  41,  45, 
60,  69,    149,   153 

Palestine,  33 

Pandita   Ramabai,    182 

Pantheism,   177,   183  ff. 

Paradise,  92,  136 

Paris,   xii,    18,  41,   53,   63 


INDEX 


207 


Parker,  Mrs.,  xii  f.,  19  f.,  25, 

27  n.,  37,  61 
Paul    (St.) 

and  Faith,  141  f.,  149 
and    the    Third    Heaven,    30, 
36,  44,  86,  87,  92,  95,  115 
and  the  Thorn  in  the  Flesh, 

23 
as  Mystic,  vii  f.,   14,  25,  29, 

40,  41,  62,   141 
Conversion,  8,   148 
See  also  vii  f.,  83,  91,  177  f., 

192,  194 

Peace,  Cli.  TIT,  passim,  3,  40, 

ff.,  8,  10,  21,  22,  27  n.,  28, 

29,  30,  38,  42,  91,  94,  136, 

142,   162,   167,   187,  189 

Persecution,    8,    9,    15,    25,    30, 

42,  60,  86,   162 
Peter     (St.),    78,    88 
Philosophy,  80,  91,  141,  142  f., 

177,  181  n.,  182  IF. 
of  the  Cross,     16,  28,  42,  60 

ff.,  126,  129,  171 
Picture    thinking,    viii,    43,    71 

«.,  178 
Planets,  54 
Poverty,  10  f.,  29,  34,  70,  191 

ff. 

Prayer,   14,   30,   67,  69,  74  ff., 
78  ff.,  81  ff.,  84,   117,  122, 
139,   147,   167,   169,  200 
Aids  to,  80 
Answers  to,  115,  116 
Best  time  for,  84 
Corporate,  81,   179 
Difficulties  of,  84 
Intercessory,   76 
Language  of,  74,  80 
Meetings,   179 
of  Quiet,  80  ff.,  84 
Quaker  Method  of,  81,  179 
The  Lord's,  82 
Written,  82 
Preaching,    3,    11,    52,    78,    87, 

166  ff. 
Prediction,  119 


Priest  and  Prophet,  198 
Prophets,    91,    119,    150,    157, 

181,   197  ff. 
Providence,  173  ff. 
Psalms,  91,  142,   151,  152,  154, 

157 
Psychology 

and  Apocalyptic,  89,   198 

and  Conversion,  9 

and  Ecstasy,   111,   114 

and  Inspiration,  114 

and  Intellect,    144 

and  Peace,  57 

and   Philosophy  of  Cross,  61 

and  Dark  Night  of  the  Soul, 
64 

and  Visions,  112  ff.,  120  ff. 

Freud's,  121  n. 

of  Inspiration,   114  n. 

of  Power,  114  n. 

Kee  also   Religion 

Quakers,  81,  179,  197 
Quran,  5 

Rama,  187 
Ramanuja,   184,  199 
Reincarnation.     See  Karma 
Religion 

and    Morality,    52,    172,    173 
and    Psychology,    50,    61,    90 

f.,   100,   111,   113,   114,    120 

f. 

and  Science,  8,  77,  144,  161 
Religious    Experience,    58,    83, 

87,  117,  145 
Renunciation,   61,    70,   72,    191, 

192 
Repentance,    101,    102,   ff.,    125, 

131,    135,    136,     139,    147, 

172 

Resurrection,   88,  98   ff. 
Retribution  125  ff.,  137 
Reunion,    17,   173 
Revelation  of  8t.  John,  89,  96, 

97,  154 
Revelation  of  Peter,  88 


208 


INDEX 


Revelations.     See    Apocalyptic 

Ritual,  143,  181,  187 

Roman  Catholics,  117,  130,  149 

Sacraments,  11,  31,  82,  157 
Sacred  books  of  India,  5,  159, 

178,  182 
Sadhu 

Meaning  of  word,  11,  32,  68, 

195 

Pronounciation  of,  3  n. 
Sadhus,    Christian,    11,    13,    18, 

180  ff.,  189  ff.,  195,  196 
Said  and  Muhammad,  122 
Saints,  36,  93,  97,  99,  116,  135, 

178,  183 

Communion   of,   93,   117 
Salt,  85 
Salvation,    49,    102,    131,    137, 

142  f.,  171  f. 
Samadhi,    188 
Sanday,  Dr.   Wm.,   150 
Sankara,    184,   256 
Sannyasi,  11,  70,  72,  142  f.,  185 

«-.,  195,  199 
Secret  Mission,  27 
Satan,    64,    79,    101    f.    118   ff., 

130,  135,  168,  191 
Science  and  Religion.     See  Re 
ligion 

Sebastian,    (St.),  63 
Self -sacrifice,    85,    113,    169    ff., 

190 

Sikhs,  4  f.,  6,  80 
Sin    and    Sinners,    57,    66,    98, 
100,    102,  f.,    124,   128,   129 
f.,  135,  138,  147,  185 
Spirit,    The    Supreme,    6,    185, 

199 
Spirit,  The    (ed.  B.  H.  Street- 

er),  9,  114 

Spirit  and  Brain,  22,  107 
Spiritual  Healing,  32 
Spiritualism,  119  f. 
Stokes,   S.   E.,  xiv,    12,   28 
"The   Love    of    God,"    13    n., 
31  n. 


Subconscious  mind,    121 
Suffering,   124  ff.,   127  ff.     See 
also,  23,  29,  30  f.,  51,  60, 
62  f.,  171,  190 
Sun,  eclipse  of,  145 

spots,  169 
Sundar  Singh 
and  Animals,  36 
and   Baptizing,   32 
and  Cold,  36 
and  Convention,  35 
and   Food    Regulations,    36 
and   Miracles,   25   f.,   33    60 

160  ff. 
and  Poverty,  10  f.,  29,  34,  70, 

jLy i   u. 

and  Preaching,  3,  11,  52,  78, 
87,  166  ff. 
and  Reading,  16,  78 
and  Sandals,  36 
and    Self-sacrificing    Service, 

vii,  85,  113,  169  ff.,  190 
and  The  Church,  37,  107 
and   Universalism,    102,    137, 

177  ff. 

and  Women,  195  f. 
as  a  Missionary,  42 
as  a  Prophet,  183  f. 
as  a  Traveler,  153 
Birth    of,    4 
Call  of,  9  ff. 

Devotional   Habits,   79   f. 
Early    Christian    Experience 

of,  83 

Early  Struggles   as  a  Chris 
tian,  9  ff. 

Headquarters  of,  13 
Humor  of,  36,  166 
Imprisonment  of,  60 
Influence  on,   240 
Insight,    87,    113,    143,    166, 

200 

Martyrdom,  Views  on,  63  f. 
not   a   Philosopher,   viii,    183 
Parents       of.     See       Father, 
Mother 


INDEX 


209 


Sundar  Singh — continued 

Personal  appearance  of.  viii, 

f.,  35 

Relaxations  of,    151 
Teaching  Methods,  viii,  x,  71 

n.,   178 

Sutlej,  River,  45,  40  n. 
Swaini,  11,  68,  199 
Sweden  borg,   16 
Sweeper,    132,    148,   167 
Symbolism,   90,    110,    112,    113, 
121,  150 

Tagore,    Rabindranath,    184    n. 

Deveudranath,  40 
Tamil    Addresses,    xiv,    47,    59, 

115  n.,   124,   KM 
Telepathy,    1U8 

Temptations,  23,  78,  141,  162 
Theologians,    Jll,    143,    108 
Theological     Training,     4,     15, 

149,  168 

Theology,  Systematic,  43 
Theosophy,   120  f.,  197 
Theresa    (St.),   10 
Thieves,   The,  dying,   92,    136 
Thomas,  Church  of  St.,   180 
Thomas  a  Kempis,  99,  187 
Tibet,  3,   14,  15,  25,  30,  33,  58, 

63,  69,   132,   133,   138,   150, 

163 
Trances,   6,   8,    11,   104,   106   f 

108,    120,    122,    186 


Transfiguration,   The,    99 
Transmigration    of    Souls,    98, 

129,  155 

Travancore,  xiii,  180  n. 
Trinity,  The,  43  ff.,  185 
Truth,  9,  90  ff.,  184,  198 

Ujjain,  King  of,  72 
Underhill,  Miss  E.,  56,  65  n. 
Universalism,    102   f.,    137,    177 

ff. 

Upanishads,  5 
Urdu,  5  n.,  154 

Values,  sense  of,  viii,  143,  183, 

186 

Vedaa,   20,    152 
Vocation,    107,    101 
Von  Hiigel,  Baron,  xii,  37,  177, 

185 

Warwick,  G.,   102  n. 
Wesley,   John,   68,    117 
Westcott,   Hishop,    126 
Wordsworth,  111  f.,  148,  150 

Yoga,  0,  8,   100,   182,   186  ff. 

Zahir,   A.,   xiv 

A  Lover  of  the  Cross,  20  n., 

164  n. 

Roul-Stirring    Addresses,     29 
n-.,  195  n. 


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